3 Questions You Might Have About Google Instant and SEO
Google recently launched its instant search feature, Google Instant. You may have already noticed some of the changes. In fact, you may be thinking that Google has started reading your mind. The new feature lives up to its name, providing real time search results as you type. It also incorporates Google Suggest, which predicts what you are going to type and serves up the results right then. Google Instant improves search time by about 2 – 5 seconds per search, and basically eliminates the need for your Enter key. Although no algorithmic change was made with this update, meaning keyword rankings should not have changed, you might be wondering how Google Instant will affect the search engine performance of your website…
Do I need to modify my keyword strategy for Google Instant?
At this time, the answer is no. Good SEO is still good SEO. One of the most common questions surrounding keyword strategy, has been about whether or not to optimize for broader keyword phrases. And for the same reason this was previously not a good practice (your website traffic would be less relevant, therefore less likely to convert into leads), it is still not a good way to generate qualified traffic. Not to mention the increased competition those keywords are likely to see. Can your website compete with the big boys?
To prove this, let’s say that you want to rank for the term “Florida Career Training”. With Google Instant, results for “Florida” will begin to show up as you start typing. “Florida” brings up an onslaught of vacation/travel sites. Do you think your website that offers career training programs in Florida would fare well in this arena? While it’s true that broad keywords will receive more impressions with Google Instant, it is also true that searchers will usually have a good idea of what they are looking for and will continue to search long tail.
One aspect of your keyword strategy that might need a revisiting, however, is keyword integration concerning title tags and meta tags. Since searchers might be spending less time reviewing the results of their search query, it is important that your title tags and meta tags are optimized well. The relevant keywords appear in bold in the SERPS (search engine results pages), and you'll stand a better chance of capturing their attention if your keyword saturation is higher than your top competitors.
Do I need to do additional keyword research for Google Instant?
Traditional keyword methods should still work just fine, assuming they were effective before Google Instant. However, it could be beneficial to look at the phrases that Google suggests when you are searching. Along these same lines, Google also has the Wonder Wheel, which acts as a great keyword tool. Both Google Suggest and Wonder Wheel provide real data that is difficult to get anywhere else and should definitely be considered when researching keyword phrases.
*You must turn off Google Instant in order to utilize Wonder Wheel. The off switch is directly to the right of the search button.
Will the number of traffic driving keywords to my site decrease with Google Instant?
Many experts maintain that the number of keywords driving traffic to your website will not change significantly. After a little testing here at PlattForm Advertising, we found that total keywords increase by about 10% the week after Google Instant launched compared to the week prior to Google Instant (from a sample of 10 websites).
As of right now, it is too difficult to determine what/if any long-term affect Google Instant will have on your website’s search engine performance. Continue optimizing your sites with well-researched, relevant keyword phrases and be sure to make smart data driven decisions if you feel that your SEO strategy needs a revamping. Be on the lookout for more Google Instant articles on the PlattForm Advertising Blog, as we will continue to test and monitor affects of Google Instant. We would also love to hear your stories about how Google Instant has affected your website.