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How to Optimize Digital Assistants for Higher SEO Rankings

The role and purpose of digital assistants and product finders is to help customers find what they’re looking for and matching them to the right products for their needs and wants. They provide significant improvements on metrics like engagement, click thru-rate, average order value, and conversion, but when strategically optimized they can make a significant impact on organic rankings, and thus help improve your overall SEO.

As we know, the vast majority of product searches start in a search bar, which is why SEO and PPC are vital acquisition channels for any ecommerce business. Let’s dive into why and how product finders improve SEO.

Product finders provide consumers guidance on any product category and whenever they don’t quite know which product fits their needs. They engage users in an interactive dialogue, ask personalized, needs-based questions to determine the user’s individual needs, help them evaluate available options, and suggest products that best match their expectations.

Businesses consider product advisors mostly as a solution to bolster sales, improve the customer experience, and reduce product returns. If optimized well, however, product advisors can also play a major role in increasing organic traffic and boosting SEO rankings for your ecommerce store.

 

6 steps to make your advisor search engine friendly

Search engine optimization (SEO) comprises a set of rules that allow websites to rank higher in search engine results when specific keywords are queried. Luckily, improving the search rankings and SEO for product finders and digital assistants doesn’t require an expert–a few straight forward tactics can help boost your rankings. Let’s walk through them so you can maximize the benefits of product finders from discovery to conversion.

 

1. Identify the relevant keyword searches you want to rank for your products

There are two easy ways to identify which keywords for your product finder landing page you want to rank for is using Google’s Keyword Planner or Google Autocomplete for research on what keywords have high volume, but not too competitive and what consumers search for when they start their buyer’s journey in the search bar.

For example, if you have a laptop advisor integrated at your store, you have to find out how your target audience refers to your solution. Would it be laptop advisor or laptop finder, laptop quiz or maybe something else? You can also search for more targeted as well as more need-oriented and therefore, more lucrative long-tail keywords (consisting of more than 2 words), such as: which laptop should I buy, best laptop for gaming, which laptop for photo editing, etc.

Keywords research
An example keyword research using Google’s Keyword Planner.

Based on this simple research, you know that laptop finder with an average of 8,100 monthly searches has much more potential to generate traffic than laptop advisor which averages at 90 searches per month.

Go ahead and analyze multiple keywords. Choose the phrases for which you will optimize your product finder page.

To use Google Autocomplete as a research assistant (see what we did there?), test a variety of phrases, like in the image below, and see what Google auto-populates as options to search to help write better copy that targets the benefits of your product.

2. Optimize the HTML content

A product finder is typically integrated on your website via JavaScript. While its content is rendered and understood by Google bots, a product finder usually does not offer much room to ensure high keyword density without skimping on user experience. Therefore, you should make sure to include the keywords in other sections of your advisor landing page:

  • Optimize the header tag. The first header (H1) is a very important element from an SEO perspective. It helps search engine bots to qualify the page content and determine its relevance. That’s why you should make sure that the H1-tag contains keywords that refer to your product advisor, for example:

Laptop Finder – Find the best laptop for you to buy!

  • Introduce the advisor. This may be the first time a user comes across a Guided Selling solution. In the first paragraph, provide visitors with a brief introduction that explains its purpose and benefits, how to use it, and describes the steps a user has to take in order to find a desired product.
  • Append more information. Below the advisor, you can include more detailed information about how the advisor works, e.g. by explaining what features are being taken into consideration, how many products are being evaluated, etc.

 

3. Optimize the title tag and meta description

The title tag and the meta description are HTML attributes that specify the title of a webpage and provide concise explanations of the page content. Title and description are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page.

The title tag is an important factor in a search results ranking as it determines the focus, content and relevance of your site. Meta descriptions don’t have an impact on SEO, but just like the title tag, they play an important role in generating user click-through from the search engine results.

For a laptop advisor your title tag and meta description could look like this:

Optimized Google search result

 

 

 

Rather than:

Simple Google search result

 

 

 

4. Check whether Google can crawl and index your advisor

As mentioned earlier, product finders are usually integrated via JavaScript. It used to be an issue for the major search engines that were only interpreting static HTML content. However, Google has made significant changes over the last few years so they can crawl and index dynamically inserted content and that content can rank on Google.

In order to check if your JavaScript-based product finder is crawled and indexed, you can use Google’s “Fetch and Render” tool. It allows you to  test and see how Googlebot will render your advisor.

If your digital advisor is rendered without errors, you’ll see no difference between the two views in Google’s ‘Fetch and Render’ tool.

The tool will also display a warning if the JavaScript code is too complex or arcane to execute. As these cases prevent Googlebots from rendering the page fully, you should ensure that your digital advisors take Google’s recommendations for JavaScript-based pages and applications into consideration.

Important note: If a significant share of your audience accesses your site from Bing and Yahoo search engines, keep in mind that these search engines have different and sometimes limited indexing capabilities.

 

5. Link to your advisor on-site

Google evaluates more than 200 aspects when determining the search result ranking of your website. For years, undeniably one of the most important SEO factors have been links. Links pointing to your website and to the specific pages work like votes. The more votes your page gets, the better it ranks in SERPs.

There are certain rules that you have to follow in your link building strategy though (Google’s link quality guidelines). Among the forbidden and harmful link building tactics you’ll find buying or exchanging links as well as using automated programs or low-quality websites to build them. Yet, there are still many ways to build high-quality links without breaking Google’s guidelines.

One of the easiest and often underestimated ways to build links is internal linking – placing a link on a webpage to another page or resource on the same domain.

Your website surely has built some level of authority already, especially your home page. Use it to strengthen your advisor landing pages by linking to them from the homepage and other topic-related pages of your website, such as category pages. You can use banners or text links, whichever seems to fit your corporate design strategy to drive more SEO power to these advisor pages.

 

6. Promote your product finder on other acquisition channels

Here’s where the fun starts. By promoting your product finder landing page, you’ll get a chance to gain traffic from other communication channels and at the same time, build high-quality links for the purpose of SEO.

A few examples of how you can promote your product advisors:

  • Promote your advisor on Social Media channels. Not only on your official profiles. Dive into Real-Time Talking! Monitor conversations, search for users in need, and point them in the direction of your advisors for support.

Twitter post

  • Engage with the community. Search for and engage with people looking for advice on Q&A websites, forums, blogs etc.

Post at Quora

  • Create and promote content. Write articles on your company blog or guest articles on third party blogs. Topic ideas are endless. For example, you can share tips and tricks to buying the best laptop, like this laptop buying guide and link to your advisor page. Don’t forget to promote your articles – without it, the content and the effort you put into creating it will certainly go unnoticed.
  • Write and distribute a press release. Let the world know how much you care about delivering a great experience and convince your potential customer that you are The Point of Decision.
  • Send a newsletter. Inform your customers about your new solution to help them figure out the best product in a seamless way. Don’t underestimate good old email marketing – it’s still one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. A newsletter will not only drive traffic to your advisor landing page but also triggers social signals, such as likes and shares.
  • Syndicate your advisor to your distribution partners.  If you are distributing your products or services through third-party websites, it’s a good idea to integrate your digital advisors on these pages as well. It will provide your customers with a more consistent experience and ensure that your partners convey your brand message in the right way. To prevent syndicated advisors from downgrading the ranking of your advisor landing page, you can use the tag <link “rel=canonical” href=”[URL of your main advisor landingpage]>. You will need to add this tag to the head section of HTML code on all the pages that syndicated your advisor in order to let crawling Googlebots  know that you are the original publisher or source. All syndicated advisors should refer to your advisor landing page as a canonical version.

If you have invested in an ecommerce product recommendation solution, you have already taken a major step towards improving your rankings in search engines. Usability and user experience are second-order influences on search engine ranking success.

The product advisor alone will not put you on top of SERPs for the most profitable keywords for your business. However, it can certainly generate extra traffic if you devote some time to identifying the keywords to target, optimizing the landing page, and promoting your advisors via various communication channels.

 

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Caroline Egan is the Global Content Team Lead at Zoovu with a background in content marketing and e-commerce technology. She is passionate about educating businesses about modernizing their approach to the intersection of e-commerce and brick & mortar and how to delight customers with unique digital experiences. When not working, Caroline can be found at early morning work out classes, cooking, and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.