As Elizabeth wrote for PPC yesterday, Google released Google Instant Search. By combining a database of search histories, a probability engine and some AJAX programming, the search engine displays the most likely non-paid and PPC searches based on the characters that have been typed so far. Google believes this will save humanity billions of hours of searching. Well, it is supposed to save 2 to 5 seconds per search, which add up to 11 hours per second when you combine every query being made at any second.
Can you SEO Google Instant Search?
Personally, I think Google just chucked every one of Fred Rogers’s self-affirmation lessons into the waste bin. After a few queries, Instant Search handily reveals how predictable you are. Begin a search. Type a few letters. If your query appears, congratulations, you’re in the bell curve. This could play havoc with people’s self-esteem.
Poking fun at Google aside, Instant Search may not be a game-changer, but it does bump us over a string or two. I’m speaking about string theory and alternate realities.
Google Instant Search Changes Our SEO Reality
If there are limitless versions of reality, Google just moved everyone over to one that is very similar but a little different. You may not even notice the differences. That’s because being able to see the predicted search result will not change what you are thinking when you arrive at the Google search box. But seeing query predications and instant, self-updating results changes the user experience. It creates stimuli that the brain cannot help but respond to. This will change our behavior.
Can you optimize for Google Instant? I think yes. Type your keywords into Google letter by letter. Make a note of every relevant query that appears and optimize for those – depending on keyword difficulty – either within existing pages or on new SEO landing pages. I have a feeling that greater visibility and clickability will transform these types of keywords into a new part of the search query graph between the high tail and the long tail, a new mid tail.
I also recommend running your keywords through the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and saving the monthly search volume results. The number of searches for many queries is going to change. Some will move receive more searches, others fewer. The only way to track this change is to review more than a year’s worth of search volume data. Google’s Keyword Tool only goes back 12 months and Google Trends will not show data for searches beneath a certain threshold. Excel or Google Spreadsheets will work, but now might be a good time to learn how to use a database.
Undoubtedly more techniques for Google Instant SEO will surface. I’m already seeing tweets from people claiming they are winning the game. I don’t know about that; it’s too early to declare sustainable results, but yes, I share their opinion that you can optimize for Google Instant. What will be the ROI? That remains to be seen.