Instant Search! Instant Results! But let’s not get carried away, it isn’t going to change drastically how we optimise and market websites, not if you’re doing it properly anyway…
Some Predictions on How It May Change Search Engine Optimisation?
On first pass using Google’s Instant Search, I am initially impressed with the new and almost magical feel to the search experience. Results appearing instantaneously before my eyes.
What does Instant Search mean for Users?
Enter stage right, ‘Google Instant’, a new and improved search experience from the previous ‘auto-fill’ where the actual search results will be generated automatically before you have even finished typing.
Try it out for yourself, whilst typing, take a glance down and see how your results are produced on the fly. You don’t even have to even hit return. This means faster searches for users – saving up to two and five seconds per search according to Google.
A quick tour of Instant Search shows how you can benefit as searches…
– An increase in speed of searches, saving you time looking for what you want online.
– Predictive searching – knows what you’re thinking about already. Google are good but not that good!
– Instant results at the blink of an eye. No more having to hit the enter key.
– Gives you the ability to refine your search as you type.
– A mobile version of instant search will be available later in the year. Now this could be where it could make a difference – typing and searching using your phone is always more time consuming.
Here’s a snapshot of Googles instant search. Try it for yourself. You have to be logged in to your Google account for it to work.
I had to revert to using Internet Explorer as I didn’t want to clear my cookies to get it to work with Firefox or Chrome.
Notice the RHS box where you can turn it off if you want and revert back to the standard search experience.
What could Instant Search mean for SEO?
No doubt there will be a myriad of theories being posted from now until the next update, but SEO consultants will have to defer nailing their colours to the mast on this one and stand back to observe the potential user behaviour changes.
Companies will possibly target the more competitive short keywords over the long tail phrases, where as previously they may have opted for the longer tail keyphrase as their focus. The top four placements are likely to see a higher click through rate because of Instant Search, so the more established websites/brands may gain here.
This can only mean one thing – more fighting for the top terms and aggressive Link building SEO campaigns. This is also probably going to be a win for the big players who already do well outside of the long tail and not so good news for new sites trying to establish themsleves.
Some are talking about optimising for parts of keywords because results are being shown even before the whole keyword is typed. Auto fill has been around for a while now, so this is nothing new. Optimising in this way is not a sensible way to optimise and really falls into the spamming category.
Where does that leave the smaller fish? If anything, it will encourage companies to be more creative in advertising, to look more in the direction of social media – creating valuable content, sharing and engaging with your target audience in the right places at the right time.
There are always alternatives to Google. Facebook, linked in all offer advertising services where you can target businesses or individuals, or even Bing!
“Instant Search may not be an SEO game changer or be the death of the long tail, because in reality, provoking more fine tuning with new instant search experience is just as likely to help the longer keyword phrases.”
Industry SEO experts will need to be aware of the potential impact of changing search behaviour that comes with this new search environment.