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Will Google Instant Change Your SEO Strategy?

Published on 9/9/2010 by

Google Instant was rolled out this week and almost immediately sent a wave of panic and uncertainty through the SEO and blogging crowds.  Google’s latest and greatest major upgrade was unveiled Wednesday, showcasing predictive queries, meaning that Google now tries to anticipate what you’re thinking and typing, leading some to exclaim that Google was now psychic.

What does the change to Google mean to you?

Common questions

Internet experts from around the world have spent the last few days weighing heavy questions.

  • Will this put an end to other search engines?
  • Are longtail keywords now dead?
  • Will my rankings change?
  • Should I change the way I do SEO?

It’s too soon to tell what sort of impact Google Instant will have with most websites, but one thing is for certain:  the Internet changed in a major way this week and site owners need to change with it.

What has changed?

Google now updates as you type, predicting what it thinks you’re searching for.  Entering “web hosting” into Google not only produces results for web hosting, but also “web hosting reviews” and “web hosting services.”

google screen grab.jpg

In theory, Google is thinking for you.  That’s great news for searchers who will likely also find value in the suggested reading material, but what sort of impact will it have on website owners who’ve spent years toying with keywords?

Users are searching differently

Preliminary research has indicated that while search results are being returned faster, searchers are also spending more time performing additional searches.  Using the example above, Google users who wanted information on web hosting are also now reading web hosting reviews and looking at the variety of web hosting services on the market.  For website owners, this means there’s actually a greater chance of your website being displayed in search results than ever before.

It’s worth noting that traditional Google searches often began with questions.

Where do I find reliable web hosting?

How do I backup my website?

Google Instant now anticipates the who, what, where, when and why, so those types of searches have gone the way of New Coke and the floppy disk.  Until searchers begin to search differently, Google Instant will have little immediate impact on most websites.

Adjusting to Google Instant

SEO has always been an important part of generating website traffic and ranking well with Google.  That hasn’t changed.  The major players in SEO are now realizing that changes to Google Instant mean these things are more important than ever:

  • Meta descriptions
  • Title tags
  • Snippets
  • Keywords

By contrast, most are speculating that longtail keywords may become a thing of the past, or at least something that we site owners need to worry less about.

Bottom line:  The Internet has changed..again.  Intuitive website owners know that they’ll need to keep an eye on Google Analytics to see what sort of an impact Google Instant will have on their investments.  As always, the best webmasters are the ones who can adjust, learn quickly, and grow with the changes.