Google Instant is an effort to shave precious seconds off of the online search process. Those seconds can add up to hours over time, so for that, we thank you Google. And the new search format does give users what they want – more speed. Yes, but does a full page of suggested results (search phrases that change as you type) impact SEO as much as some believe it will? For now, the jury is still out, but there are certainly enough theories floating around to create quite a stir in the search-engine-optimization universe.
In the stress of sudden change came some good news: The way the search results are generated has remained very much the same. Google Instant simply changes how quickly those results are displayed to the user.
According to Google, the algorithms and ranking systems are basically unchanged, but the manner in which they classify impressions has had a face-lift. In a recent article in Marketing Profs, David Felfoldi defines the impression process:
An impression occurs when: A person types a query into the search box and either presses the Enter key or clicks on the “Search” button (just like it has been historically), the person starts to type their query; a person sees a results page displayed and clicks anywhere on that page (i.e. it registers an impression when the user selects a link from that page); and lastly, the person stops typing and the results are displayed for three seconds or more, implying the searcher is scanning the results page.
Are these monumental changes? It may be too early to tell, given that even Google execs won’t speculate on just how much impact Instant will have on SEO in the future. But whether you think it’s the end of SEO as we know it, or just business as usual, there are plenty of opinions out there to support your stance.
However, at the very core of the debate, the fact remains: Relevant content is the key to reaching users. Keeping your content both relevant and searchable has always been the best SEO strategy, and it will continue to be – even in an Instant.