Google Instant – can everyone keep calm please?

No doubt you have heard about Google’s latest innovation in search; Google Instant. The basic premise is that Google predicts what you’re searching for in much the same way as the Google Suggest feature. The difference is that the actual results for the query are displayed and indeed change as you type.

The first thing to note is that this feature is currently only available to UK searchers who are logged into their Google account. I, for one, would love to know how the % of Google users in the UK who actually have an account and therefore how many people outside the search industry, at this stage, are aware of the change…probably very few. So before you panic about the potential impact of Instant, remember that the average Google user does not have a Google account and at this point of time would not have a clue what Google Instant is!

Anyway, to see it in action, check out the video below:

Speculation is rife as to the impact this will have on SEO. Many of the usual culprits are coming out of he woodwork to claim ‘Instant is the death of SEO’ (yawn!). I’m not going to spend time regurgitating what is being hotly debated elsewhere. Instead, I want to provide a very simple assessment of what we feel Instant means for SEO; in our view, very little. It is certainly not the death of SEO. People are still searching and Google needs to deliver relevant results. Whilst this is the case, there will always be a need for good SEO in some form…period.

Therefore, the basic principles of SEO remain unchanged; create well designed, intuitive and content rich websites TARGETED AT USERS NOT SEARCH ENGINES. Build quality links from relevant websites. Create content your target audience will find of value and market this content to the websites they frequent, and so on.

The only fundamental difference we can see is the behaviour of searchers. Search journeys may be longer because users will be interrupted by keywords and phrases they may not have considered or in fact are completely off-topic. Alternatively, generic searches may decrease in favour of longer tail phrases as people keep typing and refining their search until they see the most relevant results page. For those who have been optimising for both generic and long tail terms this won’t be an issue.

So in conclusion, Google Instant is certainly an interesting and snazzy update to the Google search experience but will it change the face of SEO? – I doubt it.

So with that ladies and gentlemen of search; keep calm and carry on!

3 Responses to Google Instant – can everyone keep calm please?

  1. Having read a lot about this in the last few days I feel that the majority of users will not actually take to this feature as everyone is fearing. It requires you to be logged into your google account for a start, which I’d say the vast majority of users won’t do.

    Secondarily, as stated here, the same principles of optimisation remain unchanged. Creating well structured and optimised content will still get your website to the top of Google search results. It would be nice to see a bit of calm regarding this, as the hype has been very overblown.

  2. Hi Seb,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I am only speculating about the number of ‘average’ Google users who have accounts and therefore are signed in. However, when you work in digital I do believe it is easy to assume that many more people have Google accounts than is actually the case. I did a quick survey of my friends and family recently…all Google users but out of around 20 just one had a Google account!

    In any case, its all speculation at this stage and I, like you, am interested to see the data as Instant is rolled out…

    Thanks again

  3. I disagree with the point about not many users having google accouts. A lot of people use gmail, google docs and google calendars. Instant shows up for these users too.

    I think it may change long tail seo as people will be selecting pre defined keyphrases rather than typing anything in.

    Will be interesting to see some data once it’s been out for a while.

    Seb

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