Google Instant is here folks, and SEO’s all over the world are up in arms about it. “What does this mean?!,” they all clamor. In this post we will report on what Google Instant is and provide some speculation on the new elements of the search engine.
What is Google Instant
Basically, Google Instant is a beta update to the Google search experience. The update allows results to appear from search queries at lightning speed. For example, type in SEO Inc. and these results will appear instantaneously.
Here is how Google explains Google Instant on their famous Official Google Webmaster Central Blog:
With Google Instant, the page updates dynamically to show results for the top completion of what the user has typed, so this means people could be seeing and visiting your website much faster than before, and often without clicking the search button or hitting “enter.”
The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds.
To give an example, let’s say your site has lots of impressions for [hotels] and [hotels in santa cruz]. Now, because Instant is quickly fetching results as the user types, the user could see your site in the search results for [hotels] after typing only the partial query [hote]. If a user types the partial query [hote] and then clicks on any result on the page for [hotels], that counts as an impression for your site. That impression will appear in Webmaster Tools for the query [hotels]. The term ‘hotels’ would also be included in the HTTP referrer when the user clicks through to visit your website.
So how does this effect searches? Well, basically the Google search engine just got faster. In addition, you now do not need to hit enter to display results, as results appear based on the keyword(s), or portion of the keyword(s) you have entered.
In my opinion this is a good thing, I mean no one wants to click extra buttons, right? Google Instant will speed up queries and help people find what they are looking for quicker. And from what we can tell this will have no implications on search engine optimization rankings.
Now the simple change to the interface could effect which items are clicked, though. For instance, if you are entering a query and something catches your eye along the way, you may be enticed to abandon your search and choose another more appealing item instead. Furthermore, if your company or keyword is not registered early on in the query entrace process this could drastically affect the amount of clicks you get. Also, the auto fill element will change the way people search more than ever. For instance, say that you are trying to find financial information.
Now, instead of entering a query based on your own reasoning, you are almost forced to choose an option which Google has supplied for you – this should do a great deal to support those ad words numbers. Of course autofill is not new, but from some reason it now seems more visable. Don’t you agree?
One major element Google has been reporting on is the implication of this change on impressions. “With Google Instant, you may notice an increase in impressions because your site will appear in search results as users type,” it was noted on the Google webmaster blog. I like this development, as it will allow more sites to get exposure online, something which has long been an issue.
Ultimately, I believe Google Instant to be a good thing for SEO and the Internet. No doubt issues will arise, but I trust Google will work them out in time.