The Debate About Google Instant

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-09-09 Print this article Print

For example, a Google user searching the keyword combination "travel deals" will see suggested results for Travelocity and Travelzoo, as they type the word "travel." This gives these service providers immediate exposure if users choose to pick those results.

When a user completes their typing of the word "deals" after travel, they will see also results for Expedia, Orbitz and others.

Kerley believes Expedia and Orbitz may miss opportunities for e-commerce engagements with users because those service providers did not advertise on the keyword combo "travel deals."

"They're being cut off from people who are used to completing the 'travel deals' search," Kerley said. "Their advertisements and their organic search results aren't going to be part of what people are seeing."   

With advertisers seeing the long tail of search keywords impinged, the rendering of results as moving targets is bound to make advertising on the word "travel" even more expensive than it already is in the AdWords keyword auction. Search Engine Land provides more examples of how Instant impacts the long tail of keywords here.

However, IDC's Reynolds said Google Instant won't change the world a lot for search engine marketers (SEMs) and SEOs because the paid ads will still be linked to their keywords and the working of the organic placements will still work in their mysterious ways, only faster.

"User behaviors will change, however, and those changes could open up room for innovation in getting content in front of users in the 'instant' environment," Reynolds said.

Google's antispam guru and search quality expert Matt Cutts agreed that Google Instant will impact SEO over time because people will learn to search differently with Instant. Cutts noted:

"For example, I was recently researching a Congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this Congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson's blog that had been on page 2 of the search results."

Cutts, though, refuted Steve Rubel's claim that Instant makes SEO irrelevant because it includes personalization, which impacts SEO.

"But that doesn't mean that SEO will die," Cutts said. I've said it before, but SEO is in many ways about change. The best SEOs recognize, adapt and even flourish when changes happen."

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan did his best to assuage SEMs' fears about SEO's future here.



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