Google Instant Home Page

Google has introduced a way that makes search even faster. But what effect will it have on online advertisers and SEO?

Google instant is faster

Google instant allows users to see results as they’re typing. Each letter and word triggers its own list of results. The user no longer has to hit “enter,” and can click on any of the links as soon as they appear on the screen. Google has been using the feature as a way to improve productivity, and claims the new system will save between two and five seconds per search. Combine all the searches done by Google in the world, and you have about 11 hours that are saved every second of every day. Not bad, for a company that’s looking to make search as efficient as possible.

Tangent browsing and the long tail

“Updating the search results in real-time will also result in more tangent browsing — that is, users stumbling upon results they may not have set out to find originally,” explained Daniel Yomtobian, CEO of Advertise.com.
“This would result in an overall increase of impressions and potentially ad clicks,” Yomtobian told the E-Commerce Times. “In terms of how this will affect online advertising, I believe it will generate more search and click volumes, making Google’s already overpriced bid landscape even more competitive.”

This could mean bad news for businesses. A small change from Google can make or break an online business. Jonny Cooper, SEO Executive of telegraph.co.uk said, “In this case, however, the worry is misguided, for while Instant changes the engine’s interface, it leaves untouched Google’s core system for deciding relevant results. Type in ‘red striped socks’ to instant Google and static Google (it’s still available) and you’ll arrive at the same list of results. With Google Instant you’ll whizz through results for ‘red’ and ‘red stripe’ first, but as these produce listings on the DVD rental company Redbox and Red Stripe beer, they’re unlikely to hinder SEOs titling for the term ‘red striped socks’.”

Because the feature will shave off long-tail search requests — that is, search requests that are a phrase or sentence as opposed to a few words — the more commonly used search terms will become even more competitive, and prices will rise, said Sean Cook, CEO of ShopVisible.

First page or bust

“The other thing this will do is drive the importance on being on page one search results,” he noted. “You have an impatient audience that wants instant gratification. So if someone is getting consecutive results coming up as he types, he will opt for the first things he sees that look reasonably relevant.”

The future-hard to tell

Not everyone thinks that Google instant will mean less money for advertisers and more money for Google’s already huge pocket, but the truth of the matter is we just don’t know what the future holds.

“I don’t think we have enough information and understanding about the market to make these conclusions,” said Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence.

“It may be that this leads to more page views and more impressions and more clicks,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Or it could be that we get fewer clicks on paid search links as more people click on the organic search links.”

Jamie Bates