The Effect of Google Instant

Quite a few of us have been using Google Instant for a while now. It is the natural progression of the ‘search suggestions’, after Google were convinced it could produce at least some useful predictions. Clearly this speeds up search and except a few irritating instances, it is a favourable development.

On the other side of things is the advertising and Search Engine Optimization.Every change that Google makes to its algorithms or UI is immediately dissected by all the specialists and professionals in these 2 fields. So what is their take on Google Instant?

I believe Instant has made SEO even more important. That is, of course, considering SEO in a positive light. Ensuring that a website actually do find themselves where they are supposed to be found on Google. Since Instant reduces the time people spend searching, it implies that being in the top-5 results is crucial. Earlier, being on the first page of Google’s results was good enough, while now it is looking likely that being in the first screen of Google is what is needed. The Click-through rates (CTR) for sites in the top 3 would be far greater than those below it. This increases the importance of good SEO of a website’s content.

How does this effect Google’s search advertising for each query? The Pay-per-Click(PPC) advertising works on a principle of first identifying an impression of the ad. An impression is noted whenever a user :

  • Presses ‘Enter’
  • Clicks on ‘Search’
  • Selects a prediction
  • Stays on page for >3 seconds
  • Clicks on a result
  • Clicks on a refinement (maps, news, latest

The 3 second window means that ads may get a 3 second window of display even though the query may not be the one which is advertised. Also, there will a be a number of key-words which will fall behind in the CTR counts due to the changes.

All that can be said just now is that this is not a game-changer, though it will upset a number of the previously accepted designs and trends in SEO and PPC.


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