Google Instant — What It Means to You
You may have noticed (if you live in the U.S. or certain other countries that are starting to receive this) that Google is delivering search results as you type. It’s kind of a smart replacement for “I’m feeling lucky.”
Enter “a” and you get search results. Add “n” and you get a different set of search results. Add “g” and it changes again, as do the AdWords ads it shows.
And that’s it.
You can’t believe the brouhaha over this. Some folks swear it’s the death of SEO (partially true — it’s great for SBI! sites, though). Some SEOs are already talking about optimizing for individual letters (yes, as in “this SERP is brought to you by the letter a”) — honestly, these folks should find real ways to spend their time.
Who is this great for?…
1) slow typists — for those who hunt-and-peck, this will speed up their searching
2) explorers — not 100% sure of what you’re searching for? This helps you.
3) going deep — when does it really become useful?
Well, let’s look at “anguilla.” Say I’m searching for “anguilla” something or other. I do know that I’m searching for “anguilla” and beyond that, who knows.
Well, “a” gives me “Amazon, AOL, ATT, Apple.” Thanks, I know they exist.
Similarly, “an” and “ang” give me the most common words, taking into account my personalized history, etc. (I was not aware that I search that often for “angelina jolie,” but there you go. 😉
It’s only when I reach “angu” that I first see “anguilla” and at “angui,” we lock into “anguilla” with 3 “anguilla” options (including the misspelling of “anguila”) and the word “anguish.”
Once you get to “anguilla” and enter a space, you get the “two word” choices (“anguilla resorts,” “anguilla weather,” “anguilla hotels,” and “anguilla beaches”). See how we get better options as we drill down?
If I then add a “b” to make “anguilla b”, the 2nd word becomes beaches, british west indies, bwi, and blog.
From here on, the more letters you add, the more interesting it gets, actually, until you “lock in” again and Google waits for you to finish your second word and enter another space…
“anguilla beach ” (see the space, that tells Google to go to 3 words). It now shows “anguilla beach” and resorts, map, bars, and parties.
So… by now, you can see there is a sweet spot. At 3 words, for the most part (not always), we are into the long tail. The demand is generally very low and you would not create pages just for these. But you might take these words and work them into a page about “anguilla beach” (ex., “My Ideal Anguilla Beach”).
When you have 1 word and a space, Google suggests some common keywords that likely would make good TIER 2s (ex., resorts, weather, hotel, beaches). These are words that a good Theme-Based Content Site, an authority site with lots of pages, inbound links and good rankings, has already covered by following the SBI! Action Guide and the C
I’d like to see some lateralization in their instant suggestions, but I’m sure that’s a touch too heavy CPU-wise, even for Google. Is SEO dead because of this? No, it’s just one more little thing that makes it harder to manipulate Google. Searchers are more flexible.
Anyone who has decided to optimize for the letter “a” is truly a lost-cause SEO-head. I don’t expect anguilla-beaches.com to ever rank with Amazon. And in any event, if folks aren’t looking for anguilla, it’s not a natural behavior to choose what you are not searching for (except for random surfers perhaps, and they don’t make serious visitors — ex., visitors coming from stumbleupon).
It’s a lot of brouhaha over little. To the right of the search box, you’ll see that you can turn it off. When I do that, I far prefer their usual Suggestions. But this is just my early take…
I’ll leave it on for a while and see if it grows on me… like a wart.
Bottom line for what this means for SBIers… nada. They simply keep doing what they are doing. As each SBIer’s site grows, as its reputation builds, Google Instant will simply not make a big difference for it one way or another.
All the best,