What Is Google Instant and Will It Affect You?

September 30, 2010 by  Filed under: Search 

On the 8th September Google launched “Google Instant” an evolution of its search engine that gives users search results as soon as they begin to type. This major ‘revolution’ was not a change to its search algorithm and shouldn’t fundamentally change the rankings or search results for a particular query, but a change to the way users see search results and will ultimately change the way users search.

What is Google Instant?

Google Instant is simply “Search as you type”. Previously a user needed to type a search query into Google and hit enter (or click the search button).Then along came Google Suggest, which guesses what your search query might be and then presents you with a range of options of what you might be looking for (which you could scroll down and click on if you wanted to).

Google Instant takes this a step further by predicting, as you type, what you might be thinking and, as well as offering suggestions, actually shows you what it believes are the most appropriate results as you go along.

Fundamentally, this reduces the need for you to type and/or think. You can either follow Google’s thinking or select from the Google Suggest list or carry on typing until you get the query you want. This can either be viewed as a distraction (if you’re a serious searcher) or an assistance if you’re not really sure what you’re looking for.

Google reckons that this will improve the search process and save you time. They also say it shouldn’t slow your search, although I have found, certainly in the first week or so of Google Instant, that it seems to have slowed down the Google search engine results page (SERP), at times quite considerably.

Google Instant is currently only available when you sign in to Google, so if you aren’t or don’t have a Google account you won’t see it. You can also turn it off, if you want. At present it’s only available in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia and on Google Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8, so if you have an older browser, tough…. It’s also not available for an iPhone or iPad yet.

Why did Google launch Google Instant?

The official Google line is that they believe Instant offers:-

* A Faster Search Experience, by predicting what your search might be about and showing you the results before you’ve finish typing. They believe Google Instant can save you 2-5 seconds per search.

* Better Predictions, i.e. when you don’t know what you’re looking for these predictions can guide your search.

* Instant Results – the results appear right before your eyes as you type, guiding you every step of the way.

Considerably more importantly for Google, however, is the fact that Instant will guide/drive searches to the most popular search queries (which due to competition will tend to be Google AdWords higher priced clicks) and away from the more obscure, less competitive searches, which tend to have fewer (or even no) Pay Per Click advertisers bidding for them and so command considerably lower (or no) click costs, i.e., Google revenue.

Google Instant provides instant search results as you type. Whilst Instant itself hasn’t changed the way Google ranks pages, it has changed the way search results are displayed and will ultimately change the way people search.

Despite some negatives, in the long term it will increase the amount of searches on Google that people make, which tied in with the increasing yield Google will make on its paid search clicks, will significantly increase Google’s income and make it ever more powerful. Instant will drive more people to the bigger volume, short tail keywords which will either be more expensive from a PPC perspective or harder to get traffic from through SEO, however the rewards from achieving that traffic should ultimately balance the costs.

To read the complete article and know about how will Google Instant affect you, please visit The Zelst Blog.

Peter Van Zelst, the founder of Zelst Online Marketing, has over a decade’s experience of internet marketing, e-commerce, SEM and online business, 20 years in offline business and an MBA.

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