Immediately after I caught wind of Google Instant, I started researching and observing the reactions from other people within the SEO community. If you haven’t heard about Google Instant yet, let me brief you quickly:
Direct from Google:
“Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.”
You can read more about Google Instant here.
Much like any of the past changes that occurs with Google, many people who have a vested or personal interest in SEO tend to get concerned. I honestly feel the pain, especially when there are situations that I feel will have a profound affect on my own SEO business ventures. The key concern is if Google Instant will Kill SEO? To give some remote rest to your mind, I am one who doesn’t think it will. That said, I do, however, think it will create purge effect on how SEO’s approach their goals.
In this post, I’d like to publish my thoughts on how I think Google Instant will change SEO. The points I make both bring opportunities as well as challenges to the table. The newly found opportunities, I feel, are things that were once challenges, and ironically, the things that typically came easy in the past, are actually things that I now believe are going to become challenges. In all honestly, I see it as simple as that. Nothing less, and nothing more.
To begin with, I feel it’s now more important than ever to make sure that your listings ranks above the top fold, and look good. Google Instant is all about helping speed things up for people. In part of this process, Google Instant places a lot of focus on keeping people off the second and third page results. Instead of viewing additional pages, Google is directing people to adjust their query in the search bar. So, when your listing does pull up in a predicted query result, it’s vitally important that it pulls up above the top fold and looks appealing. Publishers should revisit the first few sentences of their content. Especially, the content directly below header tags. Also, meta descriptions should be looked at as well.
As mentioned above, Google Instant is being advertised as something that will help speed up searches. But, in my opinion, this is also something that Google has developed to help increase AdWords revenue. If part of their goal is to keep people off the second and third page results, then that inadvertently places an increased focus on sponsored listings. So, if you focus on ranking well in organic search, this is going to make your job a little more difficult simply because the sponsored ads are going to look even better than before.
On the contrary, Google Instant may be useful for search engine marketers simply because it reveals the keywords Google is suggesting to users. Basically, this gives marketers a roadmap on precisely which keywords to target. Doing a basic search for single keyword reveal the most popular long-tail keyword phrases suggested. From there, these popular long-tail keyword phrases can be investigated to see if it’s worth the effort to target.
Another reason why Google Instant can offer great opportunities for online publishers who monetize their content is because people who formally have been bidding on long-tail keywords in AdWords may soon conclude that they will need to start bidding on more primary keywords and phrases due to the fact that their existing long-tail targeted ads may take a dip in exposure. In other words, publishers who have the resources and ability to pull organic rankings for keywords higher up the food chain may start to see a higher the payoff than before.
Another benefit to Google Insight is that it’s being marketing as a service that caters to less computer savvy people. Inadvertently, this means that people who choose to use the service are also more likely to be what I call, “Click Happy.” In other words, you may start to discover that the traffic Google Instant sends your way will be more of people who are unaware of what is user generated content and what is contextual ad based content. In other words, the traffic that Google Instant sends your way can very well lead to a higher concentration of “Click Happy” people. This is great for people who monetize their sites with programs such as AdSense.
Ultimately, it’s my opinion that Google has created a system that does allow people to save time performing searches. But I feel that it’s also a system that allows people to think less for themselves. It’s a system that influences people by offering suggestions towards what to search for. Secondly, it’s a system that optimizes sponsored listings and ultimately helps Google continue to increase revenue with AdWords. This again is due to the increased probability that users will click on the sponsored listings instead of the organic ones.
All that said, I believe that Google Instant will make SEO easier as well as more difficult at the same time. The simple fact that Google reveals the most popular keyword phrases allows SEO’s to know exactly which keywords to chase. Simple research based on these discoveries will allow SEO’s to determine if it’s worth their time to target them.
Another thing to consider is that it is now very important to focus less on targeting broader ranges of keyword terms within your content. This is something that I have already been doing for many years. In other words, in most cases, what you see in my <title></title>, <H1></H1>, and <H2></H2>, are typically the actual keyword phrases I am targeting. On the contrary, many other marketers tend to focus on targeting secondary keywords within their content as well. In the past, this has proven to work quite well. The way I feel about that is basically, content is material, and just like with any job, it’s always best to control the amount of resources consumed to complete a goal or task. Writing content is a controllable business expense. So, in the past, publishers could easily kill two birds with stone, by targeting multiple keywords and phrases in one copy. Again, many years ago, this was a focus of mine as well. But, in recent years I have decided to write content with the sole purpose of ranking for specific keywords I want, and let the chips fall where they may on anything extra.
Prior to Google Instant, I know that my content did attract an undetermined amount of traffic inadvertently through secondary long-tail keyword targeting. However, I feel now it’s more important than before to place more focus on targeting primary keyword phrases per page rather than both. Once again, the reason being is that people are going to be more critical when it comes to clicking on the results shown. People will be more susceptible to click on listings that have an exact title and description match to the keyword phrase being searched. My point is this. I think that Google Instant will cause publishers to write more content in order to continue experiencing success with gaining traffic organically. The issue at hand is not ranking top fold for the keywords, but more so with attempting to control and mold how Google displays the listing organically. In other words, I feel more content will need to be written in order to customize the results in a way that continues to appeal to people.
On the same note of difficulty, I also think Google Instant may actually makes things more challenging for SEO’s simply for the fact that popular keywords are going to have a surge of newly added competition. Because popular phrases and long-tail keywords are now visible to everyone, the job for ranking for these terms may become more difficult as they are no longer a speculation or even mystery. Now that these predicted search queries are visible, there will be an increase in the number of people targeting them.
Overall, it’s easy to see the debate regarding Google Instant. Will it kill SEO? I am one who doesn’t think so. However, I do believe that it will cause people to adjust their approach. I see Google Instant as something that will bring many things forward that were once difficult. And I see it as being something that will push back the things that were once easy. All in all, I don’t think Google Instant is an SEO killer, but more so an SEO purge. Meaning, anyone is the business of SEO needs to recognize that things can and will change. Further more, those who continue or begin to find success are those who accept, adapt, and adjust to change. These same rules apply largely to any form of business, or general life experience. Change is good. And success comes to those who easily adapt and adjust to it.
What are your thoughts? Is Google Instant a Dream Come True or a Nightmare For SEO?