Making Live Chat SEO-Friendly
With online retailers facing more and more competition, every single thing about their presence matters. Organic search is critically important, and requires the right technology to ensure that live engagement technology isn't just optimized for search engines but can also be used as an integral part of search engine optimization and search engine marketing efforts.
For instance, many websites today use some type of third-party content to provide a richer user experience. Working directly with vendors who provide third-party content is a key recommendation among website performance experts.
As websites grow in complexity, it’s critical to monitor the performance of third-party content on a 24/7 basis from the end user perspective. The takeaway is that both customers and retailers should examine performance regularly and work closely in order to address and overcome any challenges.
Live chat providers can focus on this via their product offerings. Scripts deployed to websites for the purpose of real-time visitor monitoring can be reduced, caching can be used to ensure a near-zero impact on subsequent page views and page load times can be dramatically improved through asynchronous page view tracking.
However, ensuring that retail websites have been optimized for maximum performance is just one step to guaranteeing an SEO-friendly implementation.
We’ve developed a set of four best practices for organizations looking to make their live chat as SEO-friendly as possible:
- Ensure any real-time visitor monitoring script is properly placed near the bottom of the page so it loads after the main content.
- Ensure that any code provided by third-party vendors is optimized to reduce or nearly eliminate any drag on page load times.
- Implement proactive chat rules based on organic keywords. Robust live chat software vendors offer the ability to determine the keywords that brought a visitor to your site. This information can be used to send a proactive chat invitation that's customized, which increases its chance of acceptance.
- Use an alt attribute in your chat button HTML image implementation, and have it contain strategic SEO-optimized keywords. Search engines can't see these graphics, but they can index an alt tag. This has a dual effect: one, it presents organic keywords to the search engine spiders and, two, it helps vision-impaired users to know where to click to activate a live chat.
By following these best practices, retailers can not only ensure compliance with their SEO strategies, but in many cases it allows them to use live chat as a competitive advantage in their marketing efforts.
Matthew Tharp is director of client services for Bold Software, a provider of communication tools, including live chat software. James Brockbank is senior SEO technician at SearchQuest, one of the U.K.’s first SEO agencies.