Google recently rolled out its real time search functionality, also known as Google Instant. While Google previously provided search suggestions as you keyed the terms you where looking for, it now goes a step further by showing actual results before you even finish typing in your search term.

Although I am not yet quite sure how this will impact search engine optimization, I am of the opinion that users will eventually “learn” how to use it and so change their habits while searching for something. People that have been optimizing for long tail keywords (including domainers) will most likely feel the impact on traffic more than those who have been optimizing for shorter keywords. With this change, shorter keyword optimization and exact match terms (three words max) may once again play an important role for SEO while at the same time making it more difficult to rank well on Google’s ranking results.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you have been optimizing for the term “credit management tips”. When a user starts to type in the term, Google predicts what that user is searching for and provides immediate results. The user may at this point actually stop at “credit management” after seeing some interesting results that Google instant now provides. If your website was ranking well for the term “credit management tips” and not for the broader term “credit management”, it is likely that you will loose some traffic due to this change. As you can see in the results below, “Credit Management Tips” is not (yet) suggested by Google.

credit managementThis is also true for exact match keyword domain names, where despite getting great rankings for certain terms can also be impacted by this change. Many domain names that have been created for the purpose of ranking well on long tail exact matches may see their traffic drop and consequently the value of those virtual real estate. This may also give domain investors a little bit of a headache and force a change of strategy of the domaining industry.

While it is still early to predict what impact Google instant will cause on search engine optimization and others, It is clear to me that some form of adaptation should be done to accommodate this change. Also, it will also be very interesting to see, how the users adapt to this new form of search. This in my opinion is the trend to watch.

What do you think? Should we worry about Google instant as far as SEO is concerned? What impact do you think will this have on our daily blogging? For example, one thing I can think of right now is that if the results are presented more on real time (based on freshness), will posting frequency be more important now than before? Will social networking be an alternative solution in an effort to drive more traffic to our websites? What say you?


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

15 thoughts on “Why Google Instant May Change The SEO Game

  • It will change SEO, but I don’t think it will impact it negatively. Any good SEO expert (or novice) should already be using long tail phrases in their strategy, so I personally think instant will only help our efforts with long tail.

  • DiTesco,

    I’ve been in the ‘blogosphere’ with varying levels of commitment since 2007. As well, I’ve also had a fair amount of previous experience managing a company that sold products online and contracted out work to a number of SEO companies for organic SEO / Google Adwords campaigns.

    My first thought about Google Instant is that it is going to be brutal for companies that use Adwords. Taking advantage of both the far lower cost as well as higher conversion rate for long-tail paid search campaigns is almost crucial for most companies to achieve a positive ROI with their online media spend.

    In contrast, we found that bidding on short-tail search words/phrases converter far lower and the cost per click was insane. It sounds like Google Instant will push Adwords campaigns towards bidding on short-tail search phrases. Some have gone as far as to suggest that it amounts to a cash grab for Google by killing off long-tail paid search.

    For bloggers, I wouldn’t really panic too much. Despite the numerous changes in Google’s algorithm over the years, the quality blogs that generate high search traffic seem to continue to do so no matter what–provided that they don’t get penalized. Whether that’s because they continue to adept to changes or just because they don’t have to, I’m not sure.

    • Hi Jarret. Sorry for the late response. Had some personal issues to tend to. Anyway, I have to admit that your initial thoughts about Adwords did escape my mind and you are absolutely right. Makes us wonder how advertisers will tackle this. All in all, it is just proof that it does not end here and staying on top of things is one way to go. As for your advice on bloggers, I agree with that to. I don’t think one should panic, unless of course, if their website relies solely on organic traffic.

  • Google Instant…yet another fantastic innovation from Google. A welcome move. I think we all should appreciate it instead of raising questions on its SEO advantages. Anyways, it is likely to get more tougher for the webmasters to get traffic with this Instant thing as you pointed out in your post. Intelligent Analysis of Google Instant is required to make it work finally. Everything in SEO will remain same but it won’t be as benefiting as it could have been without Google Instant. Traffic lose will be encountered. As far as freshness in results are concerned, I like it. It will truly benefit bloggers like us. And about social media, it is good alternative to drive traffic but definitely not as fruitful as the SEO thing.

    • Words of wisdom Aswani. I agree with all you have said. While this may impact SEO in itself, it will I believe at the end of the day benefit everyone specially those who are just in the beginning. Thanks

  • Well, it seem the website which rank well for the long term keyword will be hard with a new Google system.

    • Hi Jennifer. Ranking for long term keywords is really not the issue but rather the behavior of the user. If they still search typing in the whole term they are looking for then it will not affect much. But the problem is right there, “if”. We’ll see. Thanks for your input

  • RT @wchingya: Reading: Why Google Instant May Change The SEO Game by @ditesco–

  • My older sites have improved in position since Google Instant started, however, my newer sites seem to have having more trouble getting indexed. Hopefully this will be short term only!

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