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!

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