A couple of weeks ago we told you about a test that Google was running which gave you search results as you type typed your query. This test has now become ‘Google Instant’ and it has many asking if it will spell the end for SEO.
The introduction of Google Instant means that searchers can constantly refine their query without actually clicking on the “search” or “enter” button and still get a concrete list of better & faster results. However, many are trying to figure out what effect Google Instant will have on their businesses and are asking “is SEO dead?” The answer is simple: “Of course not.”
Google Instant does not change the ranking process of Google’s search results (says Google engineer, Ben Gomes). However, SEO techniques are continuously changing and although Google Instant Search will not kill SEO, there might be a few changes to your SEO strategy.
How will Google Instant affect your SEO/PPC strategy?
Google Instant will now change how many people see and click on your site because for all you know Google Instant could be persuading searchers to enter a completely different keyword than what they had actually set out to search for.
The first major change is in the drop down “suggestion box” that tries to predict queries even before they are completely typed. Depending on the query, the search result occupies one and sometime up to three of the advertisement positions on the first page. Google is bringing the paid and universal search listings as high as possible, but is simultaneously pushing the SEO results “below the fold.”
So you need to plan out your SEO strategy keeping in mind:
- Your page Titles are going to need to be even more compelling than before.
You need to not only attract the searcher to your listing, but you have to get them to commit to the search query. That’s going to take a lot of engagement on your part.
- Take a close look at what long tail keywords Google Instant suggests.
Make sure you have a page ranked for all the important variations. Show up, no matter what final keyword string the searcher commits to.
(Suggestions from Andy Beal)
- Top ranking is now more important than ever.
Users are less likely to scroll below the fold as related results are instantly reconfigured as the search query is completed.
Good & bad news for PPC advertiers:
Google’s Johanna Wright says there will be no change to the ranking of ads under Google Instant, however ad impressions will change (for the better). Google will now record an ad impression if a searcher types a partial query and clicks within the search results page or if he stops typing for three seconds while an ad is displayed.
For PPC campaigns it will calculate as an impression (affecting CTR) only after a pause of three seconds.
Showing PPC ads on “predictive queries” that may or may not be relevant to what the user is ultimately searching for could push down the click-thru-rates of these ads.
Here is what Google’s Advertiser FAQs say:
- When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:
- The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
- The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
- The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.
At an average of 9 seconds per query, that’s 2 additional add impressions before a customer actually tells Google exactly what they are looking for. This should give your business even more exposure to searchers.
While Google Instant is great for searchers by giving them faster results, it will certainly pose a challenge for business owners and search marketers.