Google instant caused a near freak out within the SEO world, but oddly there has not been a peep about Google instant and link building. Have a look at the below Google search results as of 9/28/2010.
|Exact Match Search Term||Results|
|“google instant and seo”||36,700|
|“google instant and ppc”||25,800|
|“google instant kills seo”||2,700|
|“google instant and link building”||0|
What? Instant has been out for less than a month and there’s already nearly 40,000 articles about the impact on SEO, (some of which have been truly excellent), but there hasn’t been a single article about the effect instant might have on link building? Not one? That’s pretty amazing, considering merit based link building remains the single most effective way to assure your site of long term ranking success.
My hunch is people realize the algorithm itself was not affected, so the types of links you need to be pursuing would not be affected, thus the story here is that there is no story. Either that or people are confused and don’t want to go out on a limb with a post or opinion about something they don’t fully understand yet. I can relate. Having written on all things link building for so long, I’ve often been the “first out” with an opinion on various linking related subjects. Like back in 1879 when I said directories were dead, you should have listened. Then again, I was way wrong about paid links, which I said would stop working at any moment. They haven’t yet, but hopefully soon. The pucker factor increases when you are the first to head out onto the limb. But that’s what Danny expected of me when he asked me to write for SEL, so hello limb, here I come…
Nothing And Everything Changed
The final Google search result you get today is the same as before instant. In terms of your existing links and your total link signature and signals produced, nothing changes. It’s just a matter of you having to see all those other URLs showing up for a split second as you go about typing your query, letter by letter.
For example, if you were searching for bee keeping equipment and supplies, the only change you’re going to see is a bunch of URLs passing before your eyes you would not have seen before, on your way to the end result, a result that will be the same as it was going to be.
Hey, wait a minute…Let’s look at that again.
“the only change you’re going to see is a bunch of URLs passing before your eyes you would not have seen before”
Google Instant Helps You See Trusted Source Link Streams
And here’s where Google Instant does change link building. As your query moves from general to specific, i.e., from
to bee keeping
to bee keeping equipment
to bee keeping equipment and supplies…
Google continuously displays a changing set of URLs as it tries to guess what it is you’re looking for. Since Google’s results-on-the-fly-as-you-type are still based on trust and that trust in large part based on links, what you are really seeing is like an X-ray of the trust flow for any given vertical search phrase. This means my example above was chosen for a reason. My technique won’t work for a generic phrase such as low cost prescriptions, but for a phrase like bee keeping equipment and supplies, you are being granted access to an incredibly useful set of URLs passing before you on your way from point A to point B.
Those URLs represent the collection of what Google considers to be trustworthy and valuable with each key stroke along the way. So, as you enter your query, slow down, and as you see URLs related to your search appear, right mouse click and open them in a new tab. Continue typing your query, going from general to specific, and with each change in the instant result, again, right click and new tab them. What you’ll end up with is a Google provided road map of trust for your exact query, from the most general to the most specific. You savvy linkers know what I’m getting at here. For the narrow verticals, there’s your blueprint. There’s your hit list.
Not all will be bona fide targets, but a remarkably high percentage will be useful for some type of linking pursuit, especially for vertical searches like my example above.
As always, this is about recognizing the power of what you are seeing in front of you, and applying it to your link building strategy. Try some test searches. It’s a ranking X-ray and road map all at the same time, if you know what to search for and what to look for, and as always, what to do about it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.