So Google announced yesterday the launch of a service they are dubbing “search faster than the speed of type”! Calling itself Google Instant, it has had Twitter and the blogosphere flooded with people from the search industry fretting about how this innovation could affect their campaigns.
If you haven’t tried it yet, Google Instant automatically populates the results page (known in the industry as SERPs) whilst you type. No longer do you have to press the Enter key on your keyboard, or the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button to see the results of what you’re searching for. Google themselves estimate that Instant will save users anything up to 5 seconds per search. This may not sound like a lot, but these seconds all add up when you consider how many searches we conduct through the search engine each day.
But let’s face it; Google has done this for several reasons. Firstly, it’s innovative, and part of Google’s brand is based on their innovative and intuitive products. Automatic search suggestion as you type has long been with the three main search engines, but none of them have hitherto showed a full search result based on the first letter typed into the search box!
Secondly, it’s a time saving tool which will lure users back to the Google home page. Google search has been increasingly appearing on different corners of the web for a while (perhaps more prominently, in the right hand corner of our web browsers), and these handy shortcuts have steered people away from using the Google homepage as their search starting point.
This tool is highly dynamic and potentially game changing for those who work in search or even advertise on Google. It means that some Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts may only appear for a split second on the results page, as Google changes the visible results according to what the user is typing. This could affect PPC and SEO campaigns in three main ways. Firstly, it could mean lower Click Through Rates (CTR) on Google Adwords. For SEO, It could also mean increase the importance to rank high on short tail organic keywords. Finally, it could also further decline the importance of misspellings as Instant automatically corrects
At present, Instant is only available to users logged into a Google Account, who are located in certain countries, and who are searching from the Google home page. And because of its current level of restricted access it is hard to see Instant changing anything from an SEO and PPC perspective in the immediate future. But as with all things that Google does, the proof is in the pudding. Time will tell as to how this ground breaking change to Google’s core product will affect those who advertise with it, and wish to rank high in its search results.