How Will Google Instant Affect SEO?

Last month, Google launched a new search enhancement named Google Instant. Powered by AJAX, Google Instant displays search results as users type their queries rather than after pressing enter. By essentially predicting search results, Google Instant is intended to help save searchers time (about 2 to 5 seconds per search). However, the new feature has many of us in the search industry wondering just how it will impact SEO.

Some, like PR executive Steve Rubel, have said that Google Instant will “kill SEO.” As Rubel wrote in a blog post in reaction to the launch of Google Instant: “No two people will see the same web. Once a single search would do the trick – and everyone saw the same results. That’s what made search engine optimization work. Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors.”

Others, such as search marketing software company SEOmoz, take a different stance. SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin argued in this blog post that Google Instant “changes less than your average algorithmic rankings update.” To illustrate his point, Fishkin shared this chart from Conductor that compares the visits of search term length the week before the Google Instant launch and the week after the Google Instant launch:

As you can see, numbers pretty much held steady before and after Google Instant.

Fishkin further demonstrated his point by sharing SEOmoz’ Google data from before and after the launch:


Again, these charts indicate very insignificant changes to web traffic.

We at CyberMark believe that, although Google Instant is likely to change search behavior over time, it’s certainly not an SEO killer. With advances in technology and updates to search engine algorithms, what it means to be search-optimized is constantly evolving. Google Instant is just one change – and a fairly minor one at that. As SEO experts, we promise to provide you with up-to-the-minute SEO advice to keep your site as visible as possible in search results.

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