Early Days for Google Instant

From: SEO Junkies (Advansys Limited)
Published: Tue Sep 14 2010

Google Instant is a new search function on Google that shows you search results as soon as you start typing. The function will allow you to see a range of possible search queries in grey to refine your options, all before you ever hit the Search button. Reception to the new Google Instant function generally seems to be positive and the option does exist to turn it off but I think that the general user won’t be logging into Google to turn the feature off, they will just work through it.

On the face of it, Google Instant doesn’t look like it is going to revolutionise or change the search engine ranking positions (SERPs) much once the user has hit the enter key. Prior to hitting the enter key Google Instant may change behaviour over time.

The key here is that the behaviour will change in response to the results that get presented as the user types, this list is presented extremely fast to be generated on the fly, which means that the list of both Suggested Search Terms and Results for those terms is pre determined and set on a regular basis. Further research and developments of the function may show how frequent this pre-determination is updated and if there is any weighting to the sites that come up in that pre-determination.

At SEO Junkies, we’ve thought of a few ways this could change behaviour in regards to SEO:

Distraction problems

Because the list updates as you type a word there is a greater chance of the user being distracted by something they are interested in but hadn’t been thinking about. For example, if you type in ecommerce solution, as the searcher at "EC" you are presented with a synopsis for the movie "Eclipse". This level of distraction can lead users to go to an irrelevant destination from the one they were intending of originally going to.

Placement Advantage

On most users screens they will see 6-7 results (the search box moves to the screen top as you start typing) which would suggest that pre-enter, the results advantage may be modified, it is likely that the advantage of P1–P2 will lessen as there is less scrolling involved to see position 4.

Advantage to suggested keywords

This change is the one that most companies practicing search engine optimisation techniques should be most alert to; There will be a distinct advantage going to sites that rank for the suggested search terms. If a reasonably accurate search term is suggested then it will at least be considered by the user who may have been about to type in a similar length term that we may have chosen as a target because it was more efficient. The counter for this is that if the user does not find what they want from this more general term, they will resort to longer terms sooner than they used to. This should bring back the long tail keyword as a good target.

Time will tell whether Google Instant will last the test of time or whether it’s another function that will rarely get used and eventually binned. Whatever happens, SEO companies need to take note and identify the potential positive and negative effects this function can bring. Find out more about SEO, including the effects of Google Instant, by contact SEO Junkies today.
Company: SEO Junkies (Advansys Limited)
Contact Name: dianeforster
Contact Email: marketing@seojunkies.com
Contact Phone: 0845 373 0595

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