Google serves up Google Instant but will this be welcomed by users or leave a bad aftertaste – we explain how Google Instant may affect your web SEO and web search.
Google Instant, Google Caffeine … what’s next Google Decaf? Anyone else think Google has an obsession with coffee? Google Instant, launched in the US is a new way that Google will display results to users typing in a search query but how will this effect web SEO? It’s hasn’t launched in Australia yet but it is currently being rolled out in different regions all over the world. We give you the skinny late’ (couldn’t resist) on Google’s latest development.
What is Google Instant?
Matt Cutts says that Google Instant is an enhancement to Google’s user interface (UI) and is designed to help users achieve better and quicker search results. By predicting your search and showing instant results before you finish typing; Google says that Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search and 350 million hours of user time, over a year. This figure is based on instant search saving two to five seconds of user time, in places where Google Instant is rolled out. Read more about the benefits of Google Instant.
So how does Google Instant work?
The purpose of Google Instant is to speed up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and it works by predicting what your search will be and automatically completes the search field while you are typing. For example, typing in ‘flow inlet tubes’ might start with flowers until you complete typing your search. The results page for flowers will flash up until you continue typing ‘inlet tubes’’. As you continue to type, both the predicted queries and the search results will change.
Matt Cutts says that Google Instant is influenced by personalised search. Even if that’s turned off you may see some effects of it showing up in Google Instant. What this means is that Google Instant will return internet sites that you have visited more recently based on your search history or return search results based on your location. For example if you simply typed in ‘hotels’, you would get search results based around the location Google thinks you are in.
Google has not announced when Google Instant will be launched in Australia but they are busily rolling it to US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. You can try enabling it and testing out Google Instant via this special URL: http://www.google.com/webhp?sclient=psy Signing in to Google may also help enable it faster as well.
What are the effects of Google Instant on Web SEO?
Google says that the basics of Google search are the same, including how results are ranked and how Google determines relevant results – what has changed is the path you can take to get to relevant results. Users want to get to what they are searching for as quickly as possible, and Google Instant might help them do this. By predicting what they are looking for and returning pages based on their search, users may be more likely to click through to the top search results. This may mean the following for web SEO:
Even more emphasis on top 3 positions: This means that the top three listings of the SERPs will be more important now, as they will be the ones to be seen above the fold when a partial search results page is shown (“pSERPs”). There will be more emphasis on getting higher ranking pages on page 1, and the top 3 positions will be ‘golden’ and have increased competition.
Increased focus on local listings: Google Places Pages or local listings will become even more important to local searches as the 7 listings will show up even before any organic results are delivered. The ‘7 pack’ typically only show up when the user types a service oriented business followed by the city for their search.
Impact on long tail searches: Google Instant predictive search may work twofold; it may mean that users find what they are looking for more quickly through short tail keywords or they may just ignore early predictions and continue searching for the exact specific information they are looking for.
So what should I do to plan for Google Instant?
Our advice? Keep on doing what you’re doing. Don’t make aggressive changes to the way you are doing your web SEO. We suggest that you do not make or optimise pages for “partial” searches related to your main keyword phrase or product – this will just create a page of gibberish. Continue to analyse data from Google Analytics to shape your SEO strategies and optimise your Google Places page and web pages for keywords important and relevant to your business.
To ensure your local listing is claimed and optimised well – take advantage of our Google Maps SEO Package or call our SEO experts and find out more about Google Instant and how it can impact your website. As Google Instant has not yet launched in Australia as yet, it will be a ‘wait and see’ to find out whether Google Instant will improve the quality and integrity of search for users and the possible impact to web SEO.