Google Instant Changes Nothing! In Terms of Search Engine Optimisation At Least

Well I hate to report on old news but I can’t resist. Google Instant hits and all of a sudden it’s the death of SEO all over again! For the 50th time in the last 12 months?

For those of you who haven’t read about Google instant, first of all where have you been? Secondly switch on your personalised search and perform your favourite query “seowizz” πŸ™‚ see how the screen immediately updates after each letter? Sent my eye’s funny to be honest.

You may also want to read about it here.

I really want to focus on this “SEO death” and all the SEO haters, you know the ones, create great content and use keywords people πŸ™‚

What I want to know is, why are people so eager to see SEO squashed? Every time Google announces a new search feature, all of a sudden SEO dies.

Personalised search – SEO is dead?

Universal Search – SEO has changed forever!

Alternative search options like wonder wheel – It’s the end!!

The truth is none of these have even come close to ending SEO, even in its traditional sense, in fact they have improved SEO and made the industry more diverse.

At the end of the day Google’s business model is based on SEO, webmasters and searchers flocked to them because of their willingness to engage and openness about optimisation (kind of). If there was no SEO I honestly think Google would not exist, at least not as we know it. While ever there is a ranking system that pulls in traffic SEO will always exist.

So to all you SEO haters, sorry but were still here and businesses are spending more on SEO than ever!!!

Silly Comments

What really riles me is the silly comments you get from people who obviously don’t work in search, they mislead and can give genuine SEO’s a really bad name. For e.g.

“There’s a lot of “black hat” SEO (which involves things like stuffing the comments of blogs with links to your site, in the hope Google will think lots of bloggers love the pointed-to site) and there’s “white-hat” stuff like many others do, which is simply trying to get yourself noticed by using the words that people are searching for prominently on your page.”

Charles Arthur – The Guardian

First of all ‘black-hat’ SEO’s would not waste their time with comment stuffing, mainly because the majority are no follow, but ultimately because it doesn’t really work. Then to the ‘white-hat’ SEO’s who simply write content and try to include some keywords they picked off a keyword tool, if any SEO tells you they solely practice either of the above then they are not good SEO’s or even SEO’s for that matter.

This point of view is unfortunately common and typically journalistic.

Then there is the comment on Steve Rubel’s blog;

“Here’s what this means: (referring to Google Instant) no two people will see the same web. Once a single search would do the trick – and everyone saw the same results. That’s what made search engine optimization work. Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors. “

Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this what personalised search did? After all Instant only works if you’re signed into your Google account right?

Will SEO Change?

For once in my SEO career I am completely behind Matt Cutts, well not the first time but you know what I mean;

“The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time. For example, I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.”

This is spot on, search behaviour will almost definitely feel the impact, users may stop short of a full search or change their search as irrelevant results coming up every 3 seconds. This could actually benefit SEO as Users refine their search there will be more long tail traffic to go at, more low hanging fruit for the new online business etc….

Tom Critchlow at Distilled sums it up nicely from a quote on stateofsearch;

β€œThis change is huge. This is the kind of change that will get talked about in the streets by people who have never even heard of SEO. That said, the underlying system is intact – users search for keyphrases and click on things that rank. So fundamentally nothing has changed for us – the biggest change I can see so far is that unless you hit enter the organic serps are pushed WAY down the page. This is especially true for local results with a map box. So competition for the top few slots could get more fierce as clicks drop off for any ranking 3+….”

Search will always change, user behaviour will always be affected by anything Google launches. Google is simply trying to move with what they think users want to see, faster search results, I would say they want to see more relevant results and I am not sure that Instant is going to deliver that. Still, we shall watch, observe and change as needed, just like every good SEO ever has.

So looks like Instant will effect search about as much as personalised results did, just remind me, what was personalised search all about again? πŸ™‚