Google Launches Google Instant: Crowd Goes Wild
Today Google released their latest search engine update in the form of a real-time SERPs (search engine results pages) feature called Google Instant.
Google Instant returns results as the user types letters and words into the search field on Google.com. As you can see from the screen shot below, as you type in words Google will suggest additional words in the search field, recommend results in a drop-down box below the search field and return websites and ads based on results from the words you have already typed. This is done without the user having clicked the SEARCH button.
From Matt Cutts blog: A key insight behind Google Instant is that if we want to get people answers and solve their problems faster, we can help with that by improving our UI to help you formulate queries more quickly…. This type of predictive search will enable users to potentially get answers to queries much faster and with fewer clicks.
What does this mean for SEO?
It’s too early to tell definitively but expect this new Google feature to have an impact on analytics, PPC and other advertising. Most people still look at the keyboard as they type and this new feature will impact a large percentage of Google users who use the search engine. A percentage of users will disable the feature via the On/Off button to the right of the SEARCH button and most people will simply not review the results until either they are finished typing their query or after they have hit the SEARCH button.
The Google Suggest feature will play an important part in how Google Instant affects SEO. I’ve already seen traffic slow for some longer tail keywords I rank highly for while some of my other site’s traffic increases for other long tail keywords. The Google Suggest feature will skew searches for many keywords and thus traffic will increase for some sites and decrease for others.
The pic above is a perfect example of what i’m trying to convey. The much stronger, more relevant keyword is “data center management” but Google Suggest is showing results for what it thinks is more relevant, “data center management software”. This, in short, is a major problem to SEO experts, web marketing and even potentially small site owners around the world.
While this new Google feature on the surface seems cool, it can be very distracting and there is always the possibility that Google will junk it as it has other features in the past. Only time will tell and it’s too early to say how this will end up changing the search results landscape.