A lot has been made already of the introduction of ‘Google Instant’ since it was rolled out yesterday.
What does this mean for SEO? Is search engine optimisation (or Google engine optimisation, depending on who you talk to) doomed?
If you are reading this article, there is a very strong chance you know what SEO involves. If by chance you do not, essentially it is all about pushing your site further up the search results listings and achieving search visibility for a selection or carefully selected words or letters.
Key reasons why some are thinking the SEO sky is falling in, is because Google Instant begins offering search results the moment you start typing. How does Google know what to suggest? Instant only works if you are signed into your Google account, and after Google have scanned your web history, they will deliver you personalised recommendations based on your surfing and searching habits.
In theory, this means no two people will see the same search results. Once, a single search would return results the same for everyone, and in essence, why SEO worked.
Google Instant’s arrival may now also place more importance on long-tail search, as in effect, searchers can keep typing in the search bar until they see what they want.
Matt Cutts of Google has written a post on his personal blog on the effect Google Instant could have on long-tail results;
“The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time. For example, I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.”
Being at the dawn of Google Instant, it is all very speculative as to what degree this will alter SEO and the search landscape. SEO’ers pretty much know Google 4-point ethos regarding search off by heart; The most comprehensive index of the web; to return relevant and useful results; to return results fast; to improve the search user interface, and it is these 4 points which is going to drive forward anything and everything Google ever do.
Whilst it’s been noted Google Instant only works if you are signed into your Google account, importantly, it only works if you are accessing the Google search bar on its homepage. It is difficult to gage just how many queries are made outside the main page, but searches carried out here will remain unaffected, for now at least.