• http://2helixtech.com matthiaswh

    I’m very skeptical about its ability to speed up searches. Many have raised good points about (1) a large majority of users looking at the keyboard while typing, and (2) as you said, searches might spend more time digging through each possible query before finding the right one.

    We won’t be able to truly tell until a few weeks down the road when the novelty of it begins to wear off. Until then a large majority of searches will be affected by searchers toying with it, learning it, and having fun (which could have a big initial impact on PPC impressions before it drops to a normal level).

    Someone needs to develop a browser extension or something to track how much time I spend / save with it!

  • jeroen

    anybody knows what percentage of searchers have a google account and what percentage of that are logged in on average?

  • http://www.dogberrypatch.com/archives/vacation-2010-boondocking-at-multnomah-falls/ GaryPaulson

    Sometimes as ‘geeks’ we don’t see how this will help in the real world. I have stood over the shoulder of coworkers who typed in search queries and marveled that they found anything at all.
    Now, with the first word typed, their probable query is just one mouse click away.

  • http://www.borisjacquin.com borisjacquin

    Google’s claim for this enhancement is that it radically improves the speed of search whilst not losing the relevance of the results. While their claim on speed looks undeniable, I do partly disagree on the relevance factor, for Google has omitted one very important aspect of this search “enhancement” – its business purpose. The prevalence of sponsored links in the results is blatant and absolutely shameless. I wrote a blog post on this at http://www.borisjacquin.com/google-instant-profits/ – curious to hear your thoughts.

  • http://www.mynextcustomer.com kerimorgret

    @matthiaswh I had a friend who also didn’t notice the live updates because she was looking at the keyboard while typing.

    @jeroen In the US, you don’t need to be logged in to see the live updates.

    Google Instant appears to use oq= parameter. Tracking this in Google Analytics (one example is at http://blog.webdistortion.com/2010/09/08/how-to-track-google-instant-in-google-analytics/ ) and compare paid search performance of those searches from instant search and those from regular search could be really interesting to see performance differences and query lengths. It doesn’t address issues of impressions with the instant search, however.

  • http://www.crealytics.de tchrist

    I do agree with the opinion of borisjacquin. Google Instant won’t necessarily speed up searches. But it will definitely boost revenues of Google due to 2 reasons:

    1) CPCs will go up
    Advertisers will focus on the suggested search terms, because more and more traffic will come through those terms. More competition means higher bids, which increases revenues for Google, but makes it harder for SEM companies to operate profitable.

    2) More clicks on Ads
    The little box with the suggested search terms shifts the search results down the page. As a consequence, less organic search results show up on the screen, and more space is reserved for the ads. This increases the likeliness of a click being made on the ad, simply because more links on the page are for ads. More clicks on ads means again more revenue for Google.

    We’ll see about the other implications (http://www.crealytics.de/blog/2010/09/09/implications-google-instant-sem-tchrist) of Google Instant on SEM agencies.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com FrankReed

    Matt – It’s so early in this game that it is impossible to predict the outcome on the impact on search. Iill say that with the caveats of needing to be logged into a Google account and doing your search from the Google home page there will be a limited (albeit still really huge) number who are even impacted by this.

    Older folks will likely be turned off because the experience is actually pretty disconcerting. Considering the size of the baby boomer generation and the money they will spend online as they get more comfortable this is a market that for the next 20 years should not be tossed aside just for the cool kids to play.

    Me personally, I initially don’t like the experience. WHile I am not ancient I am not 20 either. It’s just too chaotic for me. Also, I don’t do searches within Google unless I am refining the search after doing it through a toolbar.

    At any rate, plenty left to wait and see on. Great job as usual helping folks get the “lay of the land”. Take care.

  • http://www.onlineshoes.com CarrieEller

    As a subset of good performing long tail terms, Google instant may also impact misspellings negatively. Mispellings are now called out while typing with an underline red squiggly line in the query box. This may elicit a different behavior than the “did you mean” feature from Google classic SERP’s where the searcher may have been less inclined to click the correct spelling from the “did you mean” suggestion. Now, with the misspelling clearly called out in the search box and users are trained from other products to correct spelling with the cue of the red squiggly line, less clicks may occur for less expensive, high conversion rate misspellings.

  • MartinR

    Among other concerns – as a SEO/PPC agency, many of our clients have bids on keywords that may seem “Not Safe For Work” to the engine. It may be useful to filter out content and engine recommendations that are inappropriate, instead of queries altogether. I’d be curious to see how they handle this in the days to come.

  • http://www.erocket.co.uk erocket

    Although Google Instant only affects a number of Google search options at present (e.g. logged into an account in some territories, not searching from the toolbar) I think SEOs need to anticipate a future roll out to all Google search interfaces, and pay close attention accordingly. I’m suprised at the number of SEO commentators not yet writing on what could prove a game changer; I guess they are waiting to see how the dust settles.

    My own thinking is that Google Instant could make head terms more important, and reduce the long tail. For example, say a user is looking for novelty gifts for men, and you have a main Novelty Gifts (ranking for the head term ‘novelty gifts’) and landing page with sub-pages for men, women, etc (ranking for ‘novelty gifts for men’, ‘…for women’, etc).

    Our user starts typing novelty gifts for men, and by the time they get to novelt (sic) the search drop down shows an option for novelty gifts.

    Option 1 – They continue to refine their query in the Google search field.

    Option 2 – They click that early listing, with the intention of exploring the SERPs and possibly refining their search once they visit a website ranked for novelty gifts.

    If they choose option 1 (and I can well imagine some will not least because, as kerimorgret notes, they don’t touch type and stare at the keyboard as they write) this will presumably change nothing. They’ll still enter head terms or long tail terms as they did before.

    If they choose option 2, however, that surely impacts on our SEO strategies? Especially if and when Google roll this out to more or all search interfaces.

    Presumably head terms will become more prevalent, the long tail will reduce, the top SERPs for head terms will become more important and competitive (especially with the first organic listings getting pushed further down the page), and ranking for head terms will become essential to some businesses currently sustained by long tail traffic.

    It could encourage keyword stuffing in the landing page meta info, so that when the result for novelty gifts is displayed, as many as possible of the alternative user intents (for men, for women, for boys, for girls, for the love of god!, etc) are supported – and click through encouraged – by the meta title and description.

    However, this in turn creates keyword cannibalisation issues, as you would still want your Novelty Gifts For Men page to appear in the SERPs when someone does enter the full search term ‘novelty gifts for men’.

    This is going to be fascinating to watch develop. Google certainly keep us on our toes.

  • http://www.erocket.co.uk erocket

    Sorry, that second paragraph in my last post should read:

    My own thinking is that Google Instant could make head terms more important, and reduce the long tail. For example, say a user is looking for novelty gifts for men, and you have a main Novelty Gifts landing page (ranking for the head term ‘novelty gifts’) and sub-pages for men, women, etc (ranking for ‘novelty gifts for men’, ‘…for women’, etc).

    That might make more sense.