Google Instant - Does SEO Require a Fresh Approach?


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This is a presentation on the impact of Google Instant on SEO I gave during PubCon Las Vegas 2010. For more information visit my blog @

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Google Instant - Does SEO Require a Fresh Approach?

  1. 1. Google Instant: Does SEO Require a Fresh Approach? Presented by: Kristopher B. Jones Internet Marketing Expert Best-Selling Author Founder and Former CEO, Pepperjam
  2. 2. What is Google Instant? • Search enhancement by Google that shows results as you type. • Since people read faster than they type Google assumes Instant will speed up the search process and improve user experience. • With Instant it is unnecessary to finish typing your full search term • You can now adapt your search on the fly
  3. 3. Benefits of Google Instant • Faster Searches: Can save 2-5 seconds per search. • Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, predictions help guide your search. • Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. No longer a need to type a full search term and cross your fingers.
  4. 4. Fun Facts about Google Instant From the Google Old Days to Google Instant • Before Google Instant the avg. searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term. Some searchers took as long as 90 seconds. • If everyone uses Instant globally, Google estimates it will save more than 3.5 billion seconds per day. That’s 11 hours saved every second. • 15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality
  5. 5. Fun Facts about Google Instant - cont- • Google Instant can easily be TURNED OFF (click the link next to the search box on any SERPS or visit your preferences page) • Instant IS available on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia on select browsers. • Instant is NOT available on mobile devices or searching in the Chrome browser, but Google anticipates releasing this functionality soon.
  6. 6. Myths of Google Instant • MYTH: SEO’s must now optimize for letters since Google delivers search results as soon as you start typing! • TRUTH: Search results are triggered by the predicted query and not the stem that the user types in. Example – Flow triggers Flower. You want your site to rank for Flower, not Flow since Flower is triggering the query.
  7. 7. Myths of Google Instant • MYTH: With Google Instant comes a new search algorithm • TRUTH: The Google search algorithm HAS NOT changed. What has changed is the way users see results – they now see them in real-time based on predictive search.
  8. 8. Google is Evolving. SEO is Evolving too. That’s a good thing. 
  9. 9. Evolution of Google • The Good Old Days • Bi-Annual Updates (Think Florida) • Google Personalized Search • Places…images….videos…news….shopping…. blogs…books • Google Suggest • Google Instant
  10. 10. Evolution of SEO • The underlying search engine algorithm hasn’t changed much over the years. • Fundamental SEO Strategy Remains Relatively “Unchanged”: Optimized site architecture and links still rule • However, the multiplicity of ways your Web site can be found has changed, which requires a broader strategy to capture available SERPS real estate.
  11. 11. Google Suggest…Google Instant • Google Instant is a logical outgrowth of Google Suggest (and auto-complete) • Google Suggest predicted 10 possible matches to a query, while Instant only recommends 5 • Suggest (Incorporated Through Instant) is the real game changer, but it’s been around for several years! • Are you optimizing for suggest?
  12. 12. Google Instant: Commercial Bias? Is it me (literally) or does Google have an obvious commercial bias? • Type the following letters into Google and you get: - A: AOL, Amazon, AIM, Apple - B: Bank of America, Best Buy, Bing, Bed Bath and Beyond - C: Craigslist, Chase, CNN, Costco - D: Dictionary, Droid X, Dell, Drake - E: EBay, ESPN, Expedia, Eminem • Type in the keyword “Travel” into Google and you get: - Auto-complete is Travelocity (DEMO) • Does Google have too much control over what we search? Doesn’t it appear that Instant favors big spenders (i.e. big brands)?
  13. 13. Google Instant: Head vs. Tail • Data posted on Search Engine Land suggests that the average keyword length seems to have shortened, suggesting an increase in volume for head terms. • It appears that searchers stop typing queries as they see relevant results appear. This tendency leads to more head terms and less tail terms being triggered. • However, data elsewhere suggests no material change in head versus tail search distribution.
  14. 14. Google Instant: Local(ized) Search • Localized search isn’t necessarily a Google Instant phenomenon, but is exemplified because of the interactivity of the experience • Location is an increasingly important algorithmic factor in organic search • Type in almost any keyword into Google and depending on your location results will vary • Keep in mind, the “new” Google is becoming increasingly vertical; SEO’s must adapt.
  15. 15. Google Instant: More Impressions? • 3 second Rule / Logic would suggest impression data would skyrocket (for commercial terms bec/ of bias) • From a paid search perspective most advertisers are reporting higher impressions, clicks, and conversions, which appears to create a Win, Win, Win for users (more relevant ads), advertisers (more traffic), and Google (mo money). • However, data is mixed and in some cases the cost per conversion has gone up significantly. Overall, searchers appear more engaged with Google Instant.
  16. 16. Google Instant: Do SEO’s Need a Fresh Approach? • Not because of Instant, but SEO’s MUST adapt to the multitude of changes in the way search is displayed (localized / vertical search). • Remember that the Google Algorithm hasn’t changed as a result of Instant and Fundamental SEO principals still apply.
  17. 17. Google Instant: Do SEO’s Need a Fresh Approach? – cont - • Are you optimized for suggest? • Google displays 5 suggestions instead of 10 with Instant. Is your site in the suggestions or did you drop off? It’s not only about the SERPS. • What does your data tell you? SEO is no silver bullet.
  18. 18. Thank you! Let’s Stay Connected! • Twitter - @krisjonescom • Blog – • • E-Mail –