Google Instant Searches: They are affecting SEO
July 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Its so Google to try to do too much for searchers. People are now complaining that students are not using their memory enough because Google is there instantly to give them whatever they need to know. I like the Google search and use it all day long, however it’s easy to understand how such reliance on Google’s database and search algorithm can lead to atrophy of one’s faculties. Still, I never liked rote learning and I can’t see our handy smartphones and Google search tool going away, so this reliance isn’t as negative as some suggest.
However, the nature of what Google displays and how it displays it can affect consumer choice and even consumer awareness. If a searcher can’t even complete their search query without being inundated with Google suggestions, then I think Google’s presentation and choices can become a problem. One search tool may actually reduce searcher input.
One of the most underappreciated changes in Google’s presentation of search results is Google Instant. Not long ago, Google decided to help searchers by displaying suggested alternate keyword phrases in the search box itself. It’s like they read your mind and have your results even before you’ve finished typing. How handy. As you can see in this graphic, searchers aren’t being left to their own imagination or intent (their search query). Instead Google poses popular keyword phrases as the person is typing in their query.
For you as an agent or mortgage broker, this means the searcher may give up on completing their original search intention or they could make a mistake choosing which suggestion to click on. A physical typing or mouse mistake is easy to do. In this case, the person is typing in “Sacramento real estate” but doesn’t get to finish typing before more suggestions are posed and in the screen listings appear. The searcher at this point may give up and just look at the page that is showing.
They only typed in “Sacramento real” so that increases the real number of searches for “Sacramento real” and decreases the number of searches for the longer phrases they were intending to type such as “Sacramento real estate agent.” Google Instant interrupts the searcher’s original train of thought and supplants these shorter versions.
Many people will ignore the keyword suggestions in Google Instant, however it will affect how many search. Overall, it gives more traffic to the sites that rank first on popular, truncated keyword phrases, and gives more traffic to those sites who happen to rank first for the keyword phrases Google shows in the keyword drop down list as show above.
Some of the phrases shown aren’t relevant so Google instant definitely skews the searcher’s experience and perhaps ruins it. Instant also utilizes the searcher’s visited sites recorded in cookies or the toolbar and may supplant those pages again in search results. Therefore, sites that were wrongly visited, end up being shown again in later search results. As much as Google loves its Instant product, it does subvert the searcher’s natural search behavior.
To deal with the problem of Google Instant, you’ll want to try to rank higher for core phrases, or “Trophy phrases” as some people call them. The fact that you’re number one for “Sacramento real estate agent” may not yield the traffic it once did.