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Google Instant: Searches at the Speed of Thought
Google just recently rolled out new feature called “Google Instant” which automatically predicts what you are going to search for and pulls up search results as you type them. Google’s thought is that this feature will save people time on their searches by offering results before they need them. According to Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, “We want Google to be the third half of your brain.”
As always, the company is always trying to make things easier for users.
What does Google Instant mean for your business?
After running a few test searches among the employees at Blue Corona, we determined one thing: Google Instant is really useful (if not a little bit creepy). With one press of the “W” key, Google Instant brought up the five day weather forecast for our office. Searching with Google Instant is intuitive and we found that while not all of our searches yielded instant results, most did and many times the things we were looking for showed up in the top results. Not only that, but when searching for the same thing using different keywords, we got different top results.
This new feature is definitely going to cause a stir in the SEO community.
So what is Google Instant going to mean for your business?
Well as stated above, Google Instant got our searches right most of the time and the top ranked results were what we were looking for.
Your long-term SEO strategy will likely remain unchanged – establish and promote yourself and your company as the authority for the products/services you provide in the markets where you do business.
Google is feeding users the exact results they want without them having to type full queries, search is going to be faster than ever and people may be less willing to look through more results to find what they want. This may increase the importance of optimizing for “head terms” and result in a diminishing focus on “long tail” keywords.
Google Instant and PPC
Because of the dynamic nature of Google Instant, certain things about PPC are bound to change. Normally, PPC impressions are registered every time someone lands on a search page. Now, since Google Instant logs a new search with every character meaning that typing in a search term could yield multiple searches as once, impressions are registered by every three second pause.
Only time will tell if Google Instant increases or decreases your PPC ad’s overall impressions. It does lead to two conclusions, however:
- Since users are able to search for exactly what they need and change their search on the fly, the quality of your clicks could improve. No longer will you get people clicking on your pay-per-click ads thinking they could maybe possibly be what they want – Google Instant will show your ads to people who know exactly what they are looking for.
- PPC ads will need to be more attention grabbing than ever. Since a single keystroke can take your ad out of a user’s eye, you will need to make people want to click. Google Instant is probably going to drop Google searchers’ attention spans even more, so your ad will need to really stick out if you want to grab potential customers.
Google Instant and SEO
Unfortunately, Google did not shed any light on changes to their algorithm, nor did they offer any tips for SEO, although they did say that Google Instant would not affect organic page rankings in any way. This may be true, but the company also mentioned one other thing – that search behavior would probably change drastically. Think about it: in all likelihood, people are going to be less willing to scroll through results when the rest of the Google Instant search is so fast.
This means that having top billing on the search engine is more important than ever. Here is a fun test: type in search terms that you would like your company to rank for. See yourself? Now type in related but different keywords. How about now? Google Instant allows you to test your SEO instantaneously!
In the coming weeks, Google is likely to offer some tips for webmasters – either directly through Webmaster Tools and/or on their blog. It may pay to visit these sites more frequently than you normally would – at least for the next 4-6 weeks.
Google Instant means you need tracking – now
With Google Instant’s instantaneous search results and lightning-fast SEO testing, you need to be tracking your website visitors. We’ve said before that you can’t win the game if you don’t know the score, and while Google says SEO will stay the same, it is clear that the game has drastically changed. Now that Google Instant allows people to rearrange their search instantly, ranking on Google has the power to make or break a company like never before.
Last month, we reported that AOL data said that nearly half of all search engine clicks went to the first ranked site. Over the next few months, those figures could change drastically.
Can your company afford to not step up its SEO?
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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