Google Instant was launched on
September 8th and has created hype around the effect it will have on
search marketing - both organic and paid search. This is by far the most
significant change to Google's user interface since Universal Search when it
appeared in May 2007. The one thing I can say with certainty is that the basic SEO best practices remain unchanged because
it is not an algorithm change. What will need to change is your
strategy, because Google user behavior and keyword usage will likely be
Exactly how it will change or
to what degree is yet to be seen, but you can be sure I and many others in the
industry will be watching this daily!
Google Instant will likely
affect only a portion of Google searches, but that proportion will likely grow
as users become accustomed to Google Instant.
Google Instant functionality is turned off for users
1. Are not logged in to their Google account.
2. Type their query directly
into the browser or toolbar search.
3. Are outside
the US, UK,
France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Russia.
4. Using outdated browsers.
5. Using mobile search. (Google Instant
functionality to be added this Fall)
6. Deactivate it.
Many search marketers feel
that the biggest impact will be felt in payperclick because of the impact of
having more impressions. Here's a little on how impression data will be
A searcher chooses a query from the
A searcher clicks any link on the
search engine results page.
A searcher is inactive on any results
for more than 3 seconds.
The SEO Impact
Many search marketers are
hypothesizing that the long-tail will lose search volume because people may see
the results they are looking for before they finish their intended query. This
means that it is especially important to have results that appear early in the
word sequence for highly searched phrases, which often (but not always) are
head terms, or single word search terms. Whereas others speculate this might
actually be GOOD for the long-tail
because it does not force people to commit to a query, searchers
are more likely to experiment with suggested long-tail queries.
Keyword research becomes even more
important, with an added emphasis on word sequencing - this means the time it
takes to do keyword research analysis will increase. Sites that do not have an
established presence for head terms will want to be careful in their selection
of long-tail terms.
The importance of having
enticing meta tags (title and description tags seen within Google on your
natural search results page) is emphasized because people can see what they
will get with a given query and are more likely to modify it if they don't like
what they see. Sites, like LexisNexis' that cater to niche markets are less
likely to feel an impact.
It is also likely that Google
users will do more searches in the buying cycle than ever before, because it is
much faster to do the search. This means that you want to rank high for as many
search terms as possible, because your target audience will likely be faced
with a few more provider options at a faster speed than in the past.
For now, the best approach is to:
Consider the comments above and begin
thinking about how your keyword strategies need to evolve.
Monitor your traffic to fully
understand the impact. This will be the perfect data for the ROI on the SEO
initiatives that may have been on the back burner.
Study the results (and how they
change) when a user types in your keywords. Identify the ways that your search
listing copy needs to be improved.
Focus on ranking as high as you can
in search engines for targeted keywords, especially head terms.
Just an FYI: Yahoo! Had
something very similar back in 2005 - they decided to dismantle their version
of instant search because as Yahoo said "we have very little institutional
appetite for product risk". Google's
implementation is a little nicer and had a much larger team of engineers working
on their program.
I should also note that if
Bing ever decided to implement its version of Instant Search, it could be very
easy for them to deploy their own version.
Get to know instant search -
accept the change and give it a try!