Worried About Google Instant? Maybe You’re Worrying Too Much About Search

Search Isn't Everything in Online Marketing

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The way people search is changing. That much is clear. Some of that is their own doing, and some of it is the doing of search engines. People are increasingly going to apps or social media for retrieving different types of information. Google recently released Google Instant and expects to change user behavior with it.

Are you worried about the impact of Google Instant on your site? Comment here.

Last week, we discussed what impact Google Instant might have on SEO. The topic has been widely discussed around the web. The conclusion some of us reached is that SEO will not die, but will continue to change, but one still can’t help but wonder how to divide efforts among SEO and other forms of online marketing. Neil Jones at ISEdb.com writes:

Getting top spot is now even more important. If you can dig out some heat maps of Google search results from a couple of years ago, you will see people were clicking all over the page, If you look at recent heat maps they have managed to corral people into predominantly clicking on the top 3 results.

It has always been important to get high rankings but now it is looking like; if you’re not number 1 you’re not getting the click. The combination of Google Instant and the sponsored search results pushes the organic SERPS right down the page, in a lot of the searches I have done, the only result that is left above the fold is the number one listing, Real estate on the first page was tough enough to come. Now it could be clicks that are going to get harder to come that are unless you’re number one.

I don’t know if its as cut and dry as "if you’re not number 1, you’re not getting the click", but it might be reason enough to re-evaluate how your marketing efforts are divided up. 

Look at YouTube Instant. This is a project that a student whipped up in a few hours and almost immediately had the whole web’s attention (at least the tech web’s), not to mention the attention of YouTube itself. More importantly, look at how he got that attention – a great deal of it came from a combination of Twitter and press. 

Twitter and press often feed off each other, and can bring exposure to something on a massive scale, in no time. I’m not saying Twitter and press should replace your search efforts, or that it’s easy to do what the creator of YouTube Instant did. Viral isn’t an easy nut to crack. I’m just saying, search isn’t everything. Do something interesting. Make something interesting. Say something interesting. Sometimes that alone can go along way. Even if it doesn’t go viral, it might leave a lasting impression on someone. 

Google’s never going to give up its list of ranking factors.

Now that it’s been around for over a week, do you think Google Instant is a game-changer? Tell us what you think

Worried About Google Instant? Maybe You’re Worrying Too Much About Search
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  • http://www.danielduckworth.com.au SEO Expert Daniel Duckworth

    I wrote a bit of a follow up to Google Instant and searcher behavior here: http://www.danielduckworth.com.au/blog/how-google-instant-changes-seo/

    • Guest

      did you add anything to this discussion besides a spammy link to your site (which is nofollowed anyway)?

  • http://www.le-tour.co.uk/eclass.htm Lisa

    Exactly Neil Jones is right. Its an impact to the SEO in an indirect way. Coz only 1st 3 positions will get the benefit in rankings, so it will be very tough. This can change the entire marketing strategy. Small business won’t have a choice and yes google is trying its best to be more user specific.

    I think SEO’s needs to work on other methods to get on top with Google instant.

  • http://www.eporiaecommerce.com ecommerce design

    Agree with the headline of this post that if you’re worrying about Google Instant you’re worrying too much about search. It will interesting to see what effects Google Instant has in the long term.

  • http://tobyheatonarmstrong.wordpress.com/ Toby Heaton-Armstrong

    With the way social media is playing an ever bigger part in online marketing, instant search is yet another change that we, as seo’s, have to adapt to.

  • http://webdesignbysteve.com/ Steve, SEO Web Designer

    I can see that searchers will now have the option of either refining their search or going on to page 2, 3, and more. Thus, websites positioned beyond page one could suffer greatly.

  • http://www.dynamind.at/ werbeagentur

    depending on how google implements the “personalisation” (see matt cutts blog) on instant, seo will change soon in a new direction, but still the competition depends on good content and backlinks. while I can’t test instant here, I have no actual results here, but let’s see. Still the search results depend also on the search terms of our customers. Let’s see.

  • Guest

    Ultimately I think it WILL influence companies to look at other ways of being found online, which in the long-term will be detrimental to Google itself.

    A video of a lot of people saying “I like that” doesn’t alter the fact that most people don’t.

    Yes, they’ll get used to it, and it’ll seem normal in time. However more and more people are using the search box built into their browser, turning to Bing and finding stuff via social networking (and not just the obvious networks)

    I think we’re heading back towards “surfing” rather than searching. It sums it up that when reading the question about what I thought of it after a week, I realised how little I’ve actually used Google.

    I haven’t used Adwords for any of my products for over a year. This “instant” thing means I’ll probably never return to it.

  • http://www.playstationmovebundle.info Paul T

    I find Google Instant a little annoying and turned it off. When I search for something, I’m looking at the description to most closely match what I’ve typed in Google. If that is the first or second spot then great. Otherwise I’ll click on the 8th or 9th spot if it more closely matches what I’m looking for.

  • http://icreateofx.com/ Phillip

    I disagree with the title. There definitely is cause to worry about search, more specifically organic GOOGLE search results. From my observed site metrics, instant has affected organic traffic to my sites. The irony of this is that I now rank HIGHER on the first page (for some sites/pages) for my FULL long tail keywords, and this is confirmed to some extent by Webmaster tools (whose statistics I take with a huge pinch of salt!). For non long tail keywords, I have completely fallen off the grid, mainly because my sites’ products utilise commonly used generic words and there are many LARGE sites that rank higher than me for thee words (as opposed to a combination of these words, aka long tail). Thus I get NO traffic at all for these.

    So we have to ask ourselves, what is the purpose of SEO? If it is to drive traffic to our sites, then there is reason to worry about the effect of instant. On the other hand, I believe (hope more like) the big G will tweak the instant algorithm in futureso we non PPC customers will get sizeable traffic crumbles from organic results.

  • http://www.myusacorporation.com Incorporator

    I think Google Instant scare is too much noise, too little essence. I use Chrom, and I search straight on the address bar

    • GrimJim

      I always use the Firefox Start page
      No Google Instant there either!

      I usually dig deep when searching. We only ever hear about “being number one” (yes, I agree its important), but it would be interesting to know the proportion of people who search deep compared to those people who want instant gratification and just go for the 1st page of results in a search session.

  • http://find-legal-help-now.com James C. Tanner

    Anyone who follows internet trends knows that typical search engine searches are down in North America compared to one year ago in 2009. Only the former Soviet Union countries have shown any significant increase in search engine searches.

    Does Google Instant worry me? Not at all! I love the way the internet changes so quickly. It keeps me scrambling and learning. Everyday it feels like I’m starting over, and everyone is on the same playing field.

    What really excites me is to see new frontiers opening up on the internet. It takes the heart of an entrepreneur to hang in there.

    James C. Tanner


    James C. Tanner is a writer, speaker and trainer who is known and recognized by 84 publishers. he has written and taught business skills courses for clients such as but not limited to the federal government of Canada. His home website is http://www.jamesctanner.com .

  • http://NationalShowTickets.com NationalShowTickets.com

    Like us, Google is constantly reinventing itself and making search a better experience. The secret here is be relavent and be specific to the needs of the consumer. The consumer wants to find what they want and it is our job to make sure that our pages are optimized so that no matter what Google does it will serve up the most relavent results and if you have to pay to play or get lucky by designing pages relavent to the needs of the consumer we will all win.

    Ken Summerville

  • http://ticks-on-dogs.net/ habesha

    I know that it make too easy to find a new keyword using a new instant google

  • http://inbiz4life.com Guest

    I experienced that already, anyone else ? The 1st several results on the page wasn’t what I was looking for, so it was more aggravating and time consuming than anything, (they had different url’s but landed on the same page or type of example),

    so the opening of pages continued until I found what I wanted. So in a way fortunate, all hope isn’t lost, not everyone will be satisfied with what they find in the 1st few results thus having to move further down the page.

    A thought that did come to mind, as in just because what, they think they know what we as individuals want, one way to look at it is, are we kind of being corralled like cattle, lol. Ah yes, the race continues, ” to the top ”

    The thought that actually came to mind is, aside from the previous as that could get further discussion in itself. Is it about advertising revenue? To be in the front, your going to have to pay big bucks? Just a thought, I’m out.

  • http://www.soccerballs2football.com/ Martin

    Yes, you are right statistics shows that if you are not number 1 you are hardly getting any trafic it wasn’t the case few years back.

  • mike

    I believe google is playing tricks with everyone, soon our search engines work will be useless, smaller companies will be wasting money while bigger companies will pay google just to rank number 1

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com/about Alexander

    Everything is changing all the time, but in order to perform on the web, there will be always need for SEO, one way or another.

  • Guest

    More manipulation by Google will do themselves in with this one, people are tired of being jerked around in searches, and corporate listings doesn’t cut it. The algo’s change every day now and the pace is screwing up search results for users. Facebook is becoming a far better search engine and many are using it for exactly the same reasons that Google is forcing smaller websites to abandon ship. To big to fail- not really Google is failing big time. Using Yahoo is getting more attractive every day also.

  • http://www.trafficflowseo.com ChrisW

    I have to say that this is probably the dumbest thing Google has done in awhile. I hope and pray they just get rid of it, but they are Google so they probably will keep it long after it’s expiration date…:-)

  • Guest

    There has to be some type of union on the web. Something to defend website owners and sue Google every time they are anti-competitive and abusive. Some site you pay $5/ year or something like it. A site that when Google is abusive, emails its millions of members and say, “put this code here and shut down your site to Google today, leave it open for the rest of the search engines”. That will send their stock to hell and teach Google not to mess with the little guy. Hope somebody opens such a site. If I were a programmer I would’ve started one similar for free.

  • http://www.onlineukgifts.co.uk Online UK Gifts

    I just had to add my comments for many years I have used Google Search and really loved using it.
    Until now! What are you doing Google the new search software is slow when you are typing it freezes I do not like it at all you say it is faster i do not agree please go back to the old search system it was brilliant and it worked well.

    Now what about Google image search I have now stopped using it as it slows my computer down there are just to many images trying to load please go back to the old one I have spoken to many users and they agree with me.

    So come on Google go back to the way you where Google the leader in top 1 search engine.

  • http://www.carbon-footprint-defined.com Jane

    Well, as usual with everything, it will be good for some in terms of where their own webpages stand maybe not so good for others. On the other side of the coin, as a searcher, I find it irritating sometimes. Most times what I am searching for doesn’t come up immediately and I just keep typing until it does. Other times I am easily distracted, and click on something else I see, and forget what I was looking for in the first place. My moment of distraction will change things for some site-owner out there.

  • http://imediass.in dlokeshseo

    Hi guys

    I would like share my experience. When google started to spread in India, people don’t have awareness about search engines. But now day

    • Guest

      That one sentence was very true: “If google concentrate on commercial part, search engines that are behind google may come in top”.

  • http://www.Ave25.com Phoenix Web Site Designers

    I keep hearing about people moving to mobile apps for search. But what apps are we primarily talking about and how do we optimize for them?

  • http://crazynuts.hollosite.com/ blitzed

    Over the years, Google has backstabbed plenty of businesses & individuals.

    For too long Google has been dictating which websites people see.

    A few of the sites which I had ranking #1 or in the top 5 for EONS have been zapped. Likewise even my old hobby site has been yanked from their index.

    Google’s re-jiggering is likely nuking more small business.

    It is a damn good thing that social media has a such a strong foothold now. At least it can be leveraged to help offset traffic losses due to Google.

    Here is to the continued failure of Google to topple Facebook & Twitter :)

  • http://www.tampaseointernetmarketing.com Coby Tampa SEO

    It has become very hard for us SEOs to make it because of all the changes that are being made to Google and many social networks require more and more. I think this is just going to make it that much harder but we are still going to be here because without us what would Google do for content (no new content no need for Google to read sites anymore) and that is the reason why SEO may get harder but it will never die. I do think some SEO rates may go up but we plan to keep ours the same.

  • http://www.resumecorner.com Nimish Thakkar, Resume Writer

    Many of my sites are on the first two pages for very important keywords but I am increasingly finding that a vast majority of clicks come only from the first three spots. This is definitely the right time to go beyond just SERPS and diversify the marketing spend.

  • http://qualityinfoproducts.com GG

    I agree with you. I’ve been really worried about google, because they are like dictating which site to be seen.

  • lbtriggerman

    I think nothing really has changed. Ever since we’ve always targeted the 1st spot. Still the same. I guess just the amount of clicks that #4 below will get will take a toll on this.

  • http://www.the-franchise-shop.com Franchises

    For those of us lucky enough to be the top spot for short popular phrases related to our industry, we should benefit immensely as we are likely to gain more on the long tail search phrases. Example:

    Say a website is top spot “business opportunities”, a searcher looks to type “business opportunities for sale in London” and stops short as a relevant result appears showing the website for “business opportunities”. Should the searcher have carried on with the full phrase a different website would have appeared at no1 so assuming that search behaviour changes, those with the top spots for shorter phrases should get a boost.

    This is the theory anyway.

    It’s too soon to know, in my case anyway, as instant has not been rolled out to the UK domain, but looking forward to seeing of my theory is right. (a theory discussed by others also apparently) it may not be apparent immediately as peoples habits take a while to change so it could be a slow progression.

    Roll it out!

  • http://www.flsilo.com Peter

    I agree, how do we optimize these apps?

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