The implications of Google Instant for marketing

How will Google Instant affect SEO and Google Adwords


Our commentary: These brief comments on search are based on my initial comments in Twitter while listening to the announcement by Marissa Mayer Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google - before I went to get my tea!

For the full-analysis on search implications I always turn to Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land which is the link below. Then the more technical SEO blogs.

When she promised "A fundamental shift in search" at the start of her talk I expected to be underwhelmed. When I initially hear about I thought, this is actually a fundamental shift, the most significant change since the 2007 Universal Search / Google Onebox incorporation of  images/news/video into the SERPS. Having now seen it live, I think it's more important - it is a "game changer" for SEO and PPC marketing, probably the most significant update since the launch of Pay Per Click in 2002.

The proposition : Google estimate that users will save 2-5 seconds per query with Google or over 350 million hours over the year through the Autocomplete predictions and updates to the SERPs.

I hate to think of the additional load on server and the environmental impact though - it's why Google is building more offshore wind farms. Still there is the option to switch it off, although I suspect the service will be too good for most to do that - unless on a mobile connection - watch out for the gripes on that.

Google Instant positioning: Google are positioning as "Search before you Type" rather than "Search As You Type" punters will think it's the latter their point is its predictive and will enable you to search further.

The marketing fluff expression they're using is "Search At the speed of thought".

Google Instant Marketing implications

Having now used #googleinstant live it's implications for both PPC and SEO are enormous.

  • 1. Keyword research will become more challenging - we will have to think one character at time - Google Suggest tools more important. Our recent link to an in-depth post on Google Suggest Tools could help here
  • 2. The power of title/description in SERPs + Universal/One Box 2 attract attention to searchers will become more important.
  • 3. Impressions in Google Adwords and Google Keywords Tools will be changed. Google have stated that there will be 5-7 times more results pages served - There"€™s a 3 second delay for an ad "€œshowing"€ to count as a an "€œimpression"€, or when someone selects a search or clicks on the search button - see Google Instant Adwords implications announcement and Google Instant Google Analytics implications announcement
  • 4. Impact on targeting head and tail terms in paid search - this Searchengineland article reviews the implications. Despite the headline of the article I think this move will increase the need to bid on the head terms while the importance of the tail could grow due to exploration of the results.
  • 5. If you invest heavily in PPC the immediate impact will be biggest. I think you need to setup a project to work with agency/your PPC specialist to assess the implications and strategies - how does it change overall impression/click/lead/sales volume and then CPC/CPAs for your terms.
  • 6. If SEO is driving a lot of your business and for many it is, assessing fluctuations in click volume is also important. I think a lot of people will be spending a lot of time in Google Analytics. I sugggesting setting up custom advanced segments for branded and non branded paid and natural and review the impact there - where it will be biggest. I wrote a tutorial on this over on SEOoptimise. Also setup custom advanced segments for your big traffic/sales drivers, e.g. Natural and/or paid keyword contains "Keyphrase". I can already see some quick fix changes to <title> could be useful for keyphrase plus Autocompletion. To analyse the original query entered which prompted the search results to be disiplayed advanced users can setup a filter to extract the query.

Recommended link: Search Engine Land Google Instant Liveblogging

Share your thoughts

  • Miguel Delgado commented on October 5, 2010

    Good post. Presumbaly for point 1 though you’re referring explicitly to people bidding for ad impressions since I fail to see what difference this makes to those seeking actual clicks.
    Unless we all start typing the focal product/topic first in our queries, and tacking on the adjectives or other modifiers after it, Google Instant isn’t going to change our search habits that much.

    Read more: Google Instant isn’t going to end the universe | Internet Marketing Strategy: Conversation Marketing

  • Dave Chaffey commented on September 8, 2010

    Thanks Rob, yes that’s an interesting angle too – how will Instant change people’s search behaviour.

    What you suggest sounds likely – that with fewer keystrokes to select longer 4+ word keyphrases searchers are more likely to select these to zoom in on what they’re looking for. It also makes search more exploratory.

  • Interesting collection of articles Dave thanks. I think this will just reinforce well built SEO and PPC campaigns centred around long tail terms. People are going to narrow their searches to be more specific very rapidly using this innovation when they don’t initially find what they want. Going to be fascinating to see the effects over the next few months.

Get FREE marketing planning templates

Start your Digital Marketing Plan today with our free Basic membership.

  • FREE fast start guides to review your approach
  • FREE digital marketing plan templates
  • FREE alerts on the latest developments

Need help with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Get more from your digital marketing with in-company or remote training and consultancy from Smart Insights

Get FREE marketing planning templates

Start your Digital Marketing Plan today with our free Basic membership.

  • FREE fast start guides to review your approach
  • FREE digital marketing plan templates
  • FREE alerts on the latest developments