Google Instant: Impact on SEO and SEM
SEO isn’t dead with Google Instant
Contrary to what some people may say, Google Instant isn’t going to kill SEO. What is important to understand is that the feature doesn't impact the ranking of search results.
As you know, Google Instant displays search results as users type their query. Indeed, it guesses what you type in and shows the results for the entire keyword it believes you’re eventually going to enter.
No need to optimize for letter combinations, but...
It basically means that websites don’t need to optimize for letter combinations, because Google Instant isn’t providing search results for letter combinations.
The ones who actually benefit the most of Google Instant feature for the moment are the companies that appear as “default” results. For example, when you type “A”, AOL, Amazon, AIM, and Apple are the runaway leaders in rankings in the US (results vary regionally).
Google Instant to change the way we search
Even though the search results remain the same for a query, there are great chances that users will learn to search differently over time. Indeed, with Google Instant, users can easily find out new areas to explore just by pressing the up/down arrow key. This will inevitably lead to changes for SEO.
For example, an important element that catches their attention is the search result snippet. The more relevant it is, the more likely visitors will click on the site. Therefore, it makes titles even more important from a SEO point of view.
With Instant, users will see more search results, and more ads...
From a SEM point of view, it’s clear that with Google Instant, users will now see many more search results than before. Instead of seeing like 10 results (most people never click through the second page of results), they can now see dozens of results, depending on how many letters they type and how far they get through their query.
At the same time, they will see more ads since those change with the results. However, since most Adwords campaigns are based on cost per click, an increase in impressions doesn’t mean an in increase in costs for advertisers.
Moreover, as Google Instant may make users use more specific keywords for their search queriers instead of general ones, there could be therefore a reduction in clicks towards ads displayed by generic keywords.
Google wants to get more revenue from AdWords
With Instant, Google clearly wants to make search more relevant for users and improve user experience for search and user willingness to click on ads. Why ? To get more revenue of course.
The company hopes that Instant will improve AdWords campaigns performance. And since Google’s revenue model is largely based on AdWords (Google’s main source of revenue), I can bet that Instant will inevitably make Google's revenue go up.