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Thoughts on Google Instant

September 9th, 2010 by Joe Lucas

We’ve been getting a lot of questions today about our thoughts around the launch of Google Instant and what this ultimately means for search.  Overall, I think this was a positive change because it makes search more accessible to a wider audience and in my opinion, it’s a killer feature.  I see a few big effects of Google’s new feature.

First, predicative queries should allow users to get to a more varied set of information than they otherwise would have.  Why?  Because Google now makes it easier to construct longer, more specific queries.  When a user starts typing in what they are looking for, google will not only predict what that is, but will also provide the user with other alternatives.  For example, typing in “San Francisco “ provides a user with some suggestions of what to search for.  The user can easily filter through that and then combine them with other suggestions to really explore the results of what they are looking for.

The second effect is the auto refreshing of results.  This really allows the user to explore the results of a query and then easily refine them.  This can be done right from the search box without having to wait for a full page refresh.  This makes refining queries and exploring results much quicker and easier.

The overall effect of these major features will be to put more of an emphasis on long tail queries.  We’ve done some research in the past on query length and I expect a trend to form placing more volume on longer, more specific queries.  Obviously, we’ll be monitoring this to see if it comes true.

SEO Implications

From a pure SEO standpoint, I don’t think this really shifts anything in the overall strategy.  There are already people calling this the end of SEO and other non-sensical claims.  I don’t want to re-iterate counter arguments to this, especially since Danny Sullivan has already done so in a very eloquent fashion.  In short, it’s not and likely it’s probably a good thing for SEO.

What are your thoughts on Google Instant?  Have you started doing anything different because of it?  Leave us some comments below and let the discussion continue.