Just like any other search marketer or anyone interested in web technology, Google’s new Instant search feature is very intriguing. I saw leaked screenshots of the feature weeks before going live and my first thought was, “Wow – it’s fast, neat, and accurate” but I never thought the feature would actually roll out live. Like most other SEO’s, I thought Google would kill the feature because of its implications. While Google Instant doesn’t change search engine rankings, it does change HOW searches are performed and the behavior of the searcher. How you must ask?
1. Searchers are presented with more paid search ads – I imagine paid search ad clicks will increase 5-7 times because of Google Instant. Go ahead and search for “Blu-ray player cheap”. As you type in “Blu-ray” an ad impression for Amazon appears. As you type in “player” an ad impression for Amazon appears. And as you type in “cheap” an ad impression for Amazon appears. Thus, for the entire term, Amazon receives three ad impressions for their Blu-Ray players. Not only does this increase their potential for ad revenue, but also increases top of mind awareness for Amazon’s brand. These dynamics will change how paid search campaigns are conducted as well as their potential impact.
2. Google Instant’s new predictions feature will guide searchers, benefiting the few appearing in the predictions box. Websites will alter their SEO strategies to target the terms Google is predicting. Many have argued this move will take focus away from the long-tail and move clicks more toward bigger sites and more popular terms. It’s still to early to assess impact.
3. The importance of title & description in the SERP are now more important than ever. Because Google Instant expects to show at least 3 results per search, that means potentially more unique results and more competition for a click. Thus the persuasiveness of the title and description is even more important.
4. Keyword research is going to be much more difficult, especially for long-tail terms. Instead of sites performing keyword research search phrase by search phrase, sites will have to start thinking of keywords in terms of letter by letter.
5. Brands seems to have more power than general terms. Try typing in “a” or “b” and you’ll see the predictive feature suggests “Apple, AT&T, ” or “Bing, Best Buy, Bank of America” and no general terms. Again, more powerful sites seem to get the benefit.
To sum it all up – Google now has more control than ever.