When you hear about internet bots, what sort of ideas come to mind? Probably something a bit on the sinister side. Bots have a notoriously bad reputation. They spam, vote brigade and might even be responsible for interfering with U.S. politics.
But bots aren’t all bad. They’re simply a tool, and like any tool they can be extremely useful in the right situation. Bots can play an important role in legitimate, ethical SEO strategies. Whether you optimize your site yourself or hire a professional internet marketer, you’ll want to understand bot basics.
Let’s take a look at bots: the good, the bad and everything in-between.
What Are Bots?
The term “bots” is short for robots. But these aren’t physical robots like a Roomba or a Terminator. Bots exist only in virtual spaces.
Bots affect basically every aspect of online life in some way. Over 60% of all internet traffic is comprised of bots. You’ve likely interacted with bots and not even known it!
The Bad Bots
Unfortunately, bots have a bad reputation for a good reason. Approximately 35% of all bots are malicious. These bad bots have a variety of no-good goals including content theft, hacking, DDoS attacks and other shady business.
The Good Bots
But not all bots are bad. Roughly 70% of bots perform tasks which are helpful or, at the very least, relatively benign.
Many bots are actually rather boring. They’re designed to perform tedious, labor-intensive tasks. Some examples include copyright bots, data bots, spider bots and more.
Other bots are a bit more proactive and helpful. Customer service bots are the biggest example here. You can find these bots on Skype, Messenger or basically any other platform where you can chat with a customer service rep.
An Example of Bots in Action
In some cases, you’ll know you’re talking to a bot. In other cases, the bot will be presented as a real person. Bots are popular in basically any industry.
“You’ll never have to call 1-800-FLOWERS again,” said Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, simply open up Messenger and connect with 1-800-Flowers. A bot is ready to take your order and even answer most common questions.
Bots as Part of an SEO Campaign
Beyond Facebook, bots work in basically the same way across multiple messaging and chat platforms. And they can do more than just sell a relatively simple item like flowers. Bots help develop long-term customer relationships.
A bot campaign can be run similar to an email campaign. You’ll create a sequence of responses which lead the potential customer into your brand’s conversion funnel. Basically, you’ll start by answering questions and providing information. Then you’ll slowly introduce your product or service as a potential solution to the customer’s problem.
Bots can alter the type and order of their responses based on what the customer says. This is a big advantage over an email campaign. Messenger bots receive a ton of real-time input from an individual, so they’re able to craft very specific answers.
Plus, bots are faster than email. An email campaign can unfold over weeks. Messenger bots can respond instantly. Also, platforms like Facebook Messenger allow you to reconnect with the potential customer at a later date.
Bots for Your Brand
While some bots are bad, most bots are harmless and helpful. Bots help connect potential customers with your brand by providing useful, specific information. Plus, bots don’t require a staff or even a large budget.
Practically any business of any size can benefit from bots. Interested in learning more about how bots can help your business?