What Google Instant Means for Search Marketers, Part 1
With the debut of Google Instant, marketers will have to work smarter on the search engine optimization front to gain one of the top two organic rankings on the first page of a Google search. At the same time, paid search advertisers will probably have to step up their pay-per-click (PPC) spending just to hold their current sponsored positions relative to the competition.
Google calls it "the next wave" in making search even more targeted, faster and predictive. Google Instant allows the engine to display results as you type, cutting precious seconds from the search process.
What's Google Instant trying to do?
For years, Google has tried to predict what users were searching for on its engine. It does this to reduce the time it takes a searcher to log a query, and because it saves itself processing time for support services. (Google estimates this initiative could save it 360 million hours of data-center time annually.) But Google Instant is taking this concept one step further by adding visualization and changing the results page that gets updated in real time, as a user types.
What are the implications for SEO?
The first key change Google Instant causes is in the drop-down "suggestion box," which attempts to predict queries. This, depending on the query, occupies one to three of the advertisement positions on the critical first results page. Google is rendering the paid and universal search listings as high as possible, but is pushing the SEO results "below the fold." Before Google Instant, a standard web search would yield four organic listings above the fold. Now this doesn't happen until searchers commit to their search and the page re-renders.
This means that top ranking is now more important than ever. Users are less likely to scroll below the fold as related results are instantly reconfigured as a search query is completed. Previously, searchers would type in a query, check the results, refine the search and then repeat the process until they found their desired result. Now, the potential exists for Google Instant to help with the delivery of this process.
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