SEO Experts Examine Early Findings on Google Instant

Guest Post by Josh Braaten from Big Picture Web |

Recently, I had the luxury of attending a webinar featuring the latest data on the impacts of Google Instant on SEO and PPC, hosted by search engine optimization experts, SEOmoz. There were quite a few insights but the basic message was clear: Google Instant will be a boost for PPC impressions and make positions one and two more important than ever in organic search.

The webinar featured data from three recent experiments performed by Distilled, Conductor, and MEC since Google Instant launched. Each report cited an overall slight decrease in web traffic for 2 and 3-word keyword phrases and an overall slight increase in traffic for 6 and 7-word keyword phrases. Perhaps it means Google Instant’s strong suggestion element is guiding search engines to longer, more relevant search phrases as they type?

Think about Google Instant as you plan out the content of your site. Longer keyword phrases typically convert much better and can often come with less competition than shorter keyword phrases. And now it seems as though Google is introducing changes to promote longer searches.

Keyword phrase length was one important topic, but the real speculation centered on the effects of the new user interface of Google Instant. As we type, more paid search results and the top several organic rankings for head terms have a greater chance of peeling off search users from long-tail terms as they dynamically generate as users type.

SEOmoz presenters speculated on the increased importance of these spots in the SERPs as their impressions increase, going so far as to suggest that calls-to-action may even move into the title tags of these pages for an increased ability to pull searchers from exploring the long tail. It doesn’t take an Internet marketing degree to know that those with SEO equity will leverage it in any way that provides more benefit.

I think it’s interesting enough to pause and think about this new dynamic to search. There is now a halo effect of being ranked number one or two in the search engines for head, or short-tail search terms. You’re getting a small incremental increase in traffic due not to people using your targeted search term more, but due to people beginning to search other search terms. Incredibly persuasive PPC ad copy and meta descriptions along with experimenting with calls-to-action in your page titles will be the best way to optimize your peel effect for head search terms Google Instant search users.

Searchers left to their own devices are preferring 6-7 word phrases according to the data. It’ll be up to successful search engine marketers to maximize their peel effect and leverage the importance of the 2-3 word phrases.

In the end, Google Instant seems like it’s a win for everyone. Users are finding the things they’re searching for. PPCs are getting more real-estate. And SEOs are getting rewarded more for well-ranking pages.

What are your thoughts about Google Instant? Have you noticed any profound changes to your traffic?

Josh Braaten is a SEO and the founder of the Big Picture Web Internet marketing blog. Josh writes about topics like Google Analytics and SEO and helps readers compare blogging platforms like Squarespace vs. WordPress. Follow Josh on Twitter: @jlbraaten