Google Instant: Redefining Search paradigms
Google unveiled a new search experience called Google Instant which displays results as the user types, providing suggested search phrases and updating the results as the string progresses. Google claims this enhancement will radically improve the speed of search — saving two to five seconds per search — while maintaining the relevancy of the results returned.
The key user benefit from Google Instant is the time saved for the user. Based on its independent calculations, Google estimates that it will save search users 11 hours with every passing second by making the search process faster by a 2 to 5 seconds per search.
Google describes the core features of this new interface as follows:
• Dynamic results:Google dynamically displays relevant search results as the user types for quick interaction and click through to the Web content needed.
• Predictions:One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that Google predicts the rest of your query (in light gray text) before the user finishes typing. The User can now stop typing, look down and find what he was looking for.
• Scroll to search:The user can Scroll through predictions, and see the results instantly for each as they arrow down.
The Google blog terms this Search as you type where people can get results as they type their queries. Imagining the future of search, the idea of being able to search for partial queries or provide some interactive feedback while searching has come up more than a few times.
Google Instant is currently available only for searchers in the United States. Additionally, it only functions on searches from the Google home page or from the search box at the top of a Google search results page. It doesn’t work from the Google toolbar or from the search box at the top of Gmail for mobile searches and that’s coming soon or if the servers detect that the user has a slow Internet connection.
There’s a small link to the right of the search box on a search results page that allows the user to toggle Instant “on” and “off.” Users can also change the settings on your Google search preferences page at http://www.google.com/preferences.
It will speed up searches, if and when users become comfortable with it. I am quite used to clicking on predicted search terms halfway through my querries.
Is this the SEO killer?
But it’s how Google Instant might affect businesspeople who market online — those who rely on high search engine rankings, or pay-per-click programs such as Google Adwords — that is causing the most concern. Put simply, if Google changes the way people search, in a way that favors one search term over another, then there’s a huge group of people who might need to rethink the way of conducting search engine marketing and search engine optimization campaigns. The terms Google suggests will become more important because more traffic will come through clicks on those terms. Searchers might not enter the full phrase they had in mind; instead they’ll be more likely to stop and click on a term that Google displays. So ranking for the phrase that Google suggests will become more important. It also might mean higher costs for Google AdWords bids — and more revenue for Google — since there will be more competition for these demonstrably more-trafficked terms.
Also, when using the Google Instant, the box with the suggested search terms on it takes up space on the page. This means search results are shifted down the page; so that fewer of them are visible on screen without scrolling. Mobile screens may get complicated because of this. Google’s sponsored links, the ads, are typically shown above the organic search results. This means the user gets to see more ads and less natural search engine results on the page, especially on small computer screen. This increases the likeliness of a click being made on the ad, simply because more links on the page are for ads. More clicks on ads mean, again, more revenue for Google. It also means getting to the very top of the natural search engine results will be more important than ever, since the only organic results someone might see will be the top couple of listings.
The full impact of Google Instant won’t be understood for months, until people — and advertisers — adapt to this new search behavior and decide if they like it. But for business owners who markets online, it becomes more important than ever to monitor their website’s performance and search ranking.