People are spending less time “Googling” for information on where to shop, where to eat, where to vacation and where to get the best rates. Instead, many are using bots such as Amazon’s Alexa and iPhone’s Siri to do the browsing for them.
Artificial intelligence (AI) bots do not just conduct data searches, they assess information and make recommendations to consumers based on variables such as location and key phrases. For example, a local search for restaurants might reveal a laundry list of the closest venues. However, a search for a trendy or hopping bar could extend the search further out both geographically and look for those specific phrases.
That’s why it’s important not just to write copy that describes your organization, but to use specific words and phrases that appeal to the types of consumers most likely to be interested in your services or wares. Small business owners need to optimize their website copy for today’s bot-friendly search landscape.
New AI bots usually are given search instructions via voice commands. For example, “Siri, find a nearby Thai restaurant that has takeout and accepts Discover.” This voice command reflects actual speech patterns, which are different from choosing select keywords that you would type into a search engine. Therefore, the top search results tend to yield websites that use similar phrases with prepositions, questions and comparison words. To provide copy most likely to get picked up by a bot search, consider writing, for example, a FAQ section with questions phrased the same way a customer would ask them.
Bots pick up review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor because the comments provided may closely mimic the initial search question. Consequently, it’s important to stay on top of customer comments about your business. Even if you get a bad review—either on your website or one of the popular social media sites—respond to the commenter and try to resolve the issue in a positive manner. It’s also a good idea to respond and thank each good review. Not only does this project a positive experience for the commenter and readers, but additional comments make it all the more likely that copy will be picked in a bot search.
Credibility is established in numerous ways. You need to ensure your website is secure with a safely encrypted HTTPS connection. You should encourage high levels of engagement—comments, reviews and testimonials. You also can establish credibility by sharing external links with high-quality websites. For example, if your products are featured in a national news article, or even a local newspaper, quote from or share the article or link and be sure to credit the trustworthy source.
Mix Copy Lengths
There’s a time to be long-winded and a time to be brief and snappy. A well-designed website knows when and where to offer each type of copy. When a consumer browsing for information through a bot or search engine lands on your website, the copy should make it clear that he’s found what he’s looking for. However, those keywords or phrases may be buried in a long-form article meant to be educational or entertaining. Use side copy boxes to highlight brief product or service copy, cite pricing or make similar recommendations in order to give the reader additional quick information in a side glance.