Google Instant Search disrupts SEO

Google announced and released instant search today, a feature that combines instant dynamic results with predictions to instantly populate the page with results as you type.

  • Dynamic Results - Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
  • Predictions - One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that we predict the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing. See what you need? Stop typing, look down and find what you’re looking for.
  • Scroll to search - Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down. Here’s a video that explains Google Instant in greater depth:

Google posted a few hours after the launch that “you may see fluctuations in traffic for organic keywords”, which could translated into, oh, btw, you might need to re-build your KPIs as we just changed all metrics

For instance, because Google refreshes the results every 300ms, your impressions may go through the roof, but yes conversion or clickthroughs may stay the same, go up, or down … depending on they keyword relevance for partial sentences.

Impressions are measured in three ways with Google Instant:

  1. Your site is displayed in search results as a response to a user’s completed query (e.g. by pressing “enter” or selecting a term from autocomplete). This is the traditional model.With Google Instant, we also measure impressions in these new cases:
  2. The user begins to type a term on Google and clicks on a link on the page, such as a search result, ad, or a related search.
  3. The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds. In conclusion … SEO is not dead, Google did not kill it, but Google Instant is definitely a game changer for SEO and data metrics & analytics.

Sites will need to optimize for particular letter combinations, not just entire keywords. It will be interesting to see whether results get spammed or if Google will gain the upperhand in this constant cat and mouse game.