Google Instant: What It Means To Website Owners

By Daniel Scocco

Yesterday Google unveiled what is considered by many the biggest game changer the search industry has seen in years. It’s called Google Instant, and it basically shows search results in real time, as you type letter by letter. Here is a quote from the official Google Instant page:

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.

The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.

Google is gradually rolling the change around the world, and most people should already be able to experience this feature on the Google.com (English version) page.

The question that has been on my mind is how will this new feature impact website owners. Many other people are discussing this too, so I decided to make a roundup of the views and opinions I saw around the web, with my own take about them.

1. Google Instant will kill SEO (I don’t agree.)

Some people started linkbaiting suggesting that Google Instant will kill SEO or make it irrelevant. I disagree with this view. It sure will change how SEO is done, but if anything this will open new opportunities for the skillful and clever SEOs out there.

Companies will also keep needing help with their SEO and PPC management, so I don’t think much will change in this segment either.

2. There will be less traffic to long tail keywords (I partially agree)

Now that search results are displayed in real time, the keyword suggestions people will see on their search boxes will be much more effective. This means that people will be less inclined to type long and detailed keywords (i.e., long tail ones), so the traffic you’ll get from these keywords will be reduced. I agree with that.

But there is another side to this coin. Google tests revealed that real time results encourage people to make more searches, so this could off-set the previous effect, increasing the amount of traffic you’ll get even for long tail keywords.

3. Popular keywords will become even more popular (My own theory)

Another effect of the keyword suggestions is that popular keywords should become even more popular (as long as they are one of the Google suggestions). Someone who was about to search for “make money online with a website”, for example, will see a suggestion for “make money online” right after typing some letters, and there are good chances he’ll just click there to save time.

4. Title tags will become a lot more important (My own theory)

As you probably know Google uses the title tag of a page as its headline in the search results page. For this reason title tags were already important, but with Google Instant they become even more.

Why? Because your pages will appear in many more searches now, and if you have a catchy title tag you might convince the user to click on your link even if he was searching for something else.

Over to the readers: What do you guys think about Google Instant, and how do you think it will affect website owners?



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45 Responses to “Google Instant: What It Means To Website Owners”

  • Will

    Most people actually complain that it will interfere with their searching but not for me cause everything seems to work fine. At least they have the function to turn it off in case we don’t need it. Anyway, I just like the idea of typing and getting instant search result without having to wait.

  • Diving Philippines

    For me its more convenient now when you search on google,because it instantly displays all keywords that might user is looking for .I don’t have any idea how could this new feature would affect the works of SEO .

    Thanks for sharing Daniel!

  • Web Marketing Tips

    Google instant is giving power to the users to see what they are looking for.

  • Het Patel

    Hi daniel,
    Its right that Google instant is useful to user and web owner in many way as you described, but still i have a question that….. there are any effect if our web site is not on top 5 rank.. with coming the new feature of google instant…. reply me….

  • Conversational Agent

    I love the Google Instant! It makes it easier and faster for me to browse because it has the right words I need when searching. It just takes a little getting used to for others 🙂

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