Google Launches Instant Search to Fanfare and Trepidation
Google Instant search takes its already established “suggested searches” feature to the next
level. Whereas Google’s predictive technology has always given search suggestions based on your typing, you can now see results
as you type search terms. These render instantly in the results page without requiring you to press enter or load a new screen.
Google Instant Search rolled out to selected geographic regions last week. Once it’s available in your area, it’ll be automatically
activated in supported browsers. If you’d like to disable it, you can do so by clicking the arrow just to the right of the search box.
The introduction of Google Instant Search set the Internet marketing community abuzz, particularly among owners of websites and
companies that rely on search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click advertising. Some alarmists have (perhaps prematurely)
sounded the death knell for search engine optimization (SEO), especially the practice of targeting long tail keywords. Users
intending to type long search queries (i.e. 5 to 7 words or longer) will now be
distracted by the instant results and abandon their original search query, argue the doomsayers. Furthermore, because shorter
keyword phrases will receive vastly more impressions, the competition for such general terms as
“mortgages” or “marketing” will skyrocket, thus driving up CPC costs
Others see Google Instant Search as an opportunity, as the feature gives marketing strategists insight into how Google
anticipates users might search. Market research already being utilized by Google Instant Search can be integrated into
existing SEO campaigns. For example, if a user begins typing “mortgage calculator
extra payment,” Google Instant Search will first display results for “mortgage,” and “mortgage calculator.” SEOs may want to
optimize for these two phrases. Furthermore, Google Instant Search offers “mortgage calculator extra payment excel” and
“mortgage calculator extra payment biweekly”
and other suggested searches, which may be areas an Internet marketing strategist might want to target.
For better or for worse, Google Instant Search will likely have large impact on search—both for users and marketers.
However, the effects may be muted by the growing popularity of browser search bars. Google Chrome’s address bar, for
example, doubles as a search bar where users can type queries directly. Currently, browser-based searches do not
support Google Instant Search.
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