Landing the coveted number-one spot on a search engine results page is a hard-won achievement. After all, with so many businesses scrambling up the rank ladder, the competition is fierce.
It’s no wonder why content marketers are constantly searching for hacks to rise even a few positions in results. One such SEO “hack” is live chat. But it’s important to note that live chat only affects SEO when it’s done right.
How live chat can improve SEO
Most of the SEO benefits of live chat are secondary. In other words, installing live chat on your site won’t directly boost your page rank or domain authority. It all depends on what software you use (and how you use it). Here are a few ways live chat can improve on-page SEO.
Increases the time users spend on your site
Google’s algorithms measure metrics like average time-on-page, session duration, and dwell time to determine content quality.
Average time-on-page indicates how long a visitor spends on a single page. Session duration includes the total time a user spends on your site in a single session. This could include multiple pageviews.
Not to be confused with time-on-page, dwell time is the amount of time users spend on a page before returning to the search results page. A higher average dwell time signals to Google that your content sufficiently answers the user’s search query.
Visitors who use live chat typically spend more time on your site than those who don’t, which improves these metrics. Live chat software with built-in URL tracking shows you which queries drove visitors to your site.
Decreases bounce rate (in certain situations)
Live chat itself won’t decrease your bounce rate — but linking to pages you’d like to drive more traffic to will. You can do this by adding custom buttons to your chat window or sending a link in a message.
For example, our live chat window includes a quick-access link to our About Us page so visitors don’t have to hunt for it. This makes it easy for newcomers to learn more about what we do.
Let’s say a prospect messaged us about our Facebook marketing services. We wouldn’t want to send them a wall of text explaining every detail. So we might provide a brief answer to their questions, send them a link to our Facebook marketing page, and make ourselves available to answer other questions they may have. This provides instant, personalized assistance while also allowing the user to explore at their own pace.
Provides rich customer data that you can repurpose into content
Your chat logs are a treasure trove of customer data. Review your chat transcripts regularly to discover your customers’ needs, intentions, pain points, and frequently asked questions.
Then, repurpose those queries into informative FAQs, landing pages, and blog posts to deliver value and improve your rank. Plus, it’s an easy way to generate ideas to fill up your editorial calendar.
Bonus benefit: Generates more reviews to boost local SEO
Generating Google Reviews through live chat is another indirect way to improve SEO. Search engines know that customers value reviews and rely on them to make purchase decisions. The more positive reviews you have, the more trustworthy your business appears to Google, and the higher you’ll rank.
What about negative reviews? According to Google’s John Mueller, the odd negative review won’t affect your rank. 1 Click Chat intercepts negative reviews automatically so you can address them privately.
Factors to consider before installing live chat
While live chat can provide a small, indirect boost to your SEO, it can also hurt your results if it’s done wrong. Live chat is now non-negotiable in an era when customers expect instant gratification. But not all live chat software is created equal. Here are a few factors you should consider when shopping around for a live chat solution.
A fast website isn’t just a convenience for your customers — it’s also essential for SEO. Site speed is one of Google’s many ranking factors. Some live chat widgets take up to 8 seconds to load, slowing down your site speed.
Google’s algorithms are mobile-first. If your live chat software isn’t mobile-friendly, your on-site SEO will suffer. Your live chat window should be responsive to maintain the user experience across all devices.
If decreasing bounce rate is one of your main goals, consider choosing a chat solution that allows you to add custom buttons to your chat window. These allow you to add links to pages you’d like to increase traffic to. But don’t overdo it — too many buttons create visual clutter.
SEO and live chat: final thoughts
Live chat won’t solve your SEO woes, but it will provide a personalized customer experience and make it easier for visitors to navigate your site. Repurposing customer data from your chat logs into blog posts and landing pages is a great way to provide value. You can even use live chat to generate Google Reviews, which also improves local SEO.
1 Click Chat is optimized for Google’s algorithms and comes equipped with all the features you need to deliver a customer-centric experience. Start a chat with us today to discover how live chat can boost your rank and provide instant, 24/7 access to your business.