Last month, both users and web marketers across the Internet started noticing something new and strange with Google. When typing in a search, Google would automatically start displaying search results - basically predicting what you are looking for and displaying results without you clicking "search."
In a sense, Google has been providing suggestions for searches for awhile. While you're typing in the keyword phrases, you would be given a list of 10 suggestions you can click on and go directly to the results page.
Of course, Google announced their new "Instant" feature with much fanfare. And although the dominant search engine has said publicly that there were no changes to the algorithm, some say this change spells doom for SEO, especially for long-tail keywords.
Google Instant is more of a browser feature rather than a change to how sites are crawled and indexed
As you may or may not know, Google has an algorithm (...or computer program) that scans the Internet constantly for new content. Its "spider" finds new content and indexes it into the search engine's server.
The algorithm is what SEOs need to focus on to ensure their sites rank high...browser features are more for Google's users and are meant to deliver more relevant results quicker. In other words, this change shouldn't affect the mechanics of SEOs and web marketers do.
You can of course examine your traffic from before and after this change to see how rankings and leads have been affected. We first learned of this in mid-September so perhaps you can examine traffic between September 1st and October 15th to get a good idea if any of this has affected you.
If you see a slight drop in keyword traffic, you may want to examine your audience's intent and differentiate between "early users" and "focused users"
According to Damien Bianchi over at Search Engine Land, buyers in the early stages of the process could be confused by the new options...ones that know what they want are less likely to be distracted.
To deal with this problem, he suggests you segment your site visitors into these two categories and make of list of preferred landing pages for each. Then examine the traffic to these pages and get an idea of the keyword phrases that may not be performing as well. From there, you can develop a plan of action to boost that page's rankings and visits.
In the first month, Google Instant has hardly had an effect at all
Recently, we got to see a glimpse of how these changes are affecting rankings, especially for long-tail keywords. Conductor Blog for instance reviewed some 880,000 search visits for 10 high traffic sites spanning a number of industries and found Google Instant has hardly had an impact at all.
In fact, the seemingly slight increase in long-tail traffic may go against what many are saying.
In fact, any time Google makes a big to-do about changes they're making, it's usually nothing too significant. What initially may seem like a dramatic shift usually turns out to be just a minor tweak marketers need to make in their strategies.
With a few exceptions, search marketing has stayed relatively constant over the last 8-10 years. At its most basic, SEO involves the following:
So next time, ask yourself if any of these 4 elements have changed and if you answer 'no' on all of them, then it's highly likely the announcement is not a big deal and easily manageable.
Stone Reuning is president and founder of SEO Advantage, Inc., an online marketing firm and website optimization company that helps businesses turn their websites into powerful lead and revenue generation tools.
Beginning with a focus on search engine optimization in 1999, SEO Advantage now brings a full multi-disciplinary approach to each client website. Clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services. Experts in SEO, social media optimization, online reputation management, and website conversions work hand-in-hand with small business owners and client marketing departments providing complete copywriting and creative web design support.
You'll find SEO Advantage referenced in books such as Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale and the BusinessWeek bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, as well as popular ebooks like The Small Business Blogging Blueprint.
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