Yesterday, while I was doing some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work on Google Search, I noticed that it behaved differently. I noticed that while I was typing the keywords, Google immediately showed me suggestions for what I was typing in, similar to how Google Suggest works. Since I was busy at that time and concentrating on what I was doing, I didn’t really pay attention to it or stop to check why Google Search was behaving that way.
I knew that Google had a special announcement due that day but it never occurred to me at that time that the “strange” behavior of Google Search had something to do with the special announcement. When I found out about it later that day, it was then that I realized that what I had experienced earlier was Google Instant at work.
For those of you who aren’t familiar or haven’t heard about Google Instant, here’s an excerpt 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 Instant Core Features:
- Dynamic Results – Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
- Predictions – One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that we predict the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing. See what you need? Stop typing, look down and find what you’re looking for.
- Scroll to search – Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down.
Check out this video for an in-depth explanation of Google Instant:
- Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
- Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
- Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.
At first Google Instant only worked if the user was logged in to his/her Google account. I confirmed this by trying out Google Search while I was logged and also while I was logged out and it didn’t work for the latter. Later that day, I found out that Google Instant was now available to everyone and no longer required a user to be logged in to a Google account.
With the launch of Google Instant, SEO experts, bloggers, webmasters all have different opinions regarding the effects of Google Instant to SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Some say that Google Instant will kill SEO, others say that it will have a negative effect on long tail keywords, that page title tags, meta descriptions, rich snippets & breadcrumb snippets now become more relevant in SEO, etc.
Although I know the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and know a few tricks, I am not an expert. So I can’t really say what the effects of Google Instant will be to SEO. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. One thing for sure, this new Google Search algorithm will benefit users because it will save them time.
What do you think about Google Instant? What do you think will it’s effects be on SEO or Search Engine Optimization? What are the things you like or dislike about Google Instant? Please share your thoughts.
Hi Jaypee, I believe that SEO consultants will be in demand as long as search engines exist. If anything, appearing in the top 3 results (whether paid or organic) has become more important than ever before. This ultimately means more work for SEO and Search Engine Marketing/PPC consultants.
Hi JayPee. I don’t think it will hurt SEO, especially with predictions. I have personally seen an improvement on my long tail keywords, and I think this was an expectation when they rolled it out to users.
@Jhay – I agree. Google Instant doesn’t or didn’t kill SEO but will definitely have an effect on it.
It has not really killed SEO per se but just the front page I think. Since search results are being presented in real time, pages would just have to be really optimized for their content.
@cory – Yeah, for now all we can do is wait and see what the effects of Google Instant will be on SEO.
I’m not too sure about it yet but I think it may give websites that may not be on the first page a chance to get some traffic and at the same time it might take traffic away from sites that are already dominating certain keywords. Time will tell I guess.