E is for EBay, G is for Google …

Google’s never-ending mission to continuously improve overall user experience and increase search result speed, has resulted in Wednesday’s launch of Google Instant, a faster than the speed of typing  game-changer for online search engines. Your enter key is all but useless when using the new search interface with predictions from A-Z.

As Marissa Mayer Google’s vice president of user experience described in  a press conference in San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art: “Google Instant searches as you type, not after you type.”

Google Instant uses new caching systems and JavaScript to shorten the time it takes for users to find what they’re looking for by showing search results as you type (If you are  logged in to Google, your search results will be personalized based on previous searches).  Google may be feeling some heat from competitors as they continue to appear to be trying very hard to differentiate themselves from Bing, which is running a distant second in the search market share, even after recently combining operations with Yahoo.

Aside from saving information seekers two to five seconds, Google’s new search tool may be creating a whole different climate for businesses, especially for those involved in e-commerce and Internet marketing. There has been a great deal of debate circling the blogosphere since Google unveiled Google Instant regarding the impact on Search Engine Optimization. By effectively compressing the time of each individual search and allowing users to edit searches in real time, Google Instant has the potential to significantly alter the current mechanics of search and the visibiltiy of sites.

The Net Impact
PR pro Steve Rubel, wrote on his blog, “Google Instant means no one will see the same Web anymore, making optimizing it virtually impossible. Real-time feedback will change and personalize people’s search behaviors.”

Furthermore, Instant could have a big impact on Adwords, with the numbers of impressions your links receive going up as people correct or make mistakes as they type. There may also be more opportunity to try and grab someone’s attention midway through typing a long-tail query using image results or something. Currently, businesses purchase web ads that target specific queries. But since Google users are getting results quicker than ever, they may never get to more complex queries. The result could be less business, especially for smaller businesses that can’t afford to advertise against simpler, more popular search terms.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact the preference towards brands and the change in impressions will have on marketers ability to leverage Google  in new ways.  Some marketers have already published tips on how to track Google Instant using web analytics, which will assist in developing insights on what has impact and will be instrumental in learning what to refine.

According to Mayer, “it’s too early to determine how the new feature will affect the company’s bottom line and she believes there will only be a “small change for the SEO community.”

When Google’s Matt Cutts was asked, ‘Does Google Instant kill search engine optimization (SEO)? He replied:  “No!  I think over time it might. The ability to explore the query space and find out new things will inevitably lead to changes for SEO.”

Google Instant is also heading to mobile devices later this year, and it will also be added to the desktop version of Google’s Chrome web browser, which features an integrated web search feature.


What do you think of Google Instant?  Do you think it will impact SEO?

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