Guest post by Greg Snow-Wasserman, Content Maestro at WooRank
There’s no denying that chatbots have become hugely important to businesses looking to engage with their audiences. In fact, according to Gartner an astounding 85% of customers will manage their interactions with a business without human interaction.
The cause of this shift?
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And now Facebook is actively encouraging retailers to add chatbots to their Messenger app in order to give their customers automated customer support, content and e-commerce support through Facebook. And it’s not just Facebook Messenger. The fact is, chat app usage has outpaced and outgrown social media usage:
So what does this mean for you?
You’ve got a huge opportunity to bring your website directly into the digital assistant and/or chat app of your audience. Who wouldn’t want to make it easier to sell products and deliver content right into someone’s phone?
However, just building a chatbot isn’t enough to truly tap into the potential of these trends. It’s also time to make your website chatbot-friendly.
As an added benefit, these steps will also make your site much, much more search engine friendly!
Structure Your Data
Chatbots and semantic search engines like Google are able to work the way they do thanks to the concept of structured data. “Structured data,” as the name suggests, is a way of organizing data in a standardized way that a machine can understand. For our purposes, that data is information about a website, page and content.
You’ll never see it on a page, but you’ll see the results of structured data every time you do a Google search. The most obvious is in Google’s rich snippets appearing in its SERPs:
Both the featured snippet with the list of ingredients and the first result with the 4.5 stars are created using structured data that Google can read.
So how do you create structured data for your site?
The first step is to create what are called entities.
Entities are the people, things, organizations, places and concepts relevant to your website. In essence, they are the nouns in your website’s vocabulary.
Chatbots work by reading the structured data in your entities and returning the information relevant to the query:
- What is a product?
- How to use a product or service?
- What is the status of an order?
- How to contact support?
Google relies on structured data much the same way, as you can see in the screenshot above.
There are multiple vocabularies you can use to structure your entity data, but the best one is probably Schema.org. Schema.org was created by Google and Bing as a way to standardize structured data.
If you check out some of the schemas — Organization for example — you’ll see schema categories have a large number of Properties you can define and add to your entities’ content. These properties tell bots (both search and chat) how the content defined in the property relates to the other properties of the entity.
Add That Structured Data
After you’ve created your entities using Schema.org’s vocabulary for structured data, your next step is to add this data to your pages. Enriching your website’s content, categories and products is what allows chatbots to deliver that content to users.
Adding structured data through JSON-LD will feed that data into a knowledge graph specifically for your business or website. This will give your chatbots the ability to find the content or information relevant to a user’s query and return the response that meets their needs.
Now, you can add structured data to your pages by hand, either in the “ or “ of the page. Or you can find a tool to do it for you.
If you’ve got a WordPress site, WordLift.io is a great tool to help you handle all of your structured data needs.
The plugin lets you create entities in the form of a customized vocabulary for your business, structure those entities with properties from those objects’ entries in Freebase and DBpedia.
WordLift’s natural language processing technology will then read through your content, extract the relevant entities and then add the Schema.org markup via JSON-LD.
Enjoy the Benefits
Once you’ve added your structured data to your pages, you’ll be able to take advantage of all those users on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik. Even better, now that Facebook is allowing users to make payments via Messenger, you’ve just opened up a whole new conversion channel.
At the same time, you’ve also optimized your site for the future of SEO. So on top of all the benefits of incorporating chatbots into your marketing strategy, you’ll also see the benefits of preparing your site for the semantic web.
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