A really good article around the impact of instant search on SEO & PPC

A summary of the posting from reelSEO.com.  Full article here

What Does Google Instant Mean For SEO?

The first key change Google Instant causes is in the drop down “suggestion box” that attempts to predict queries.  This, depending on the query, occupies one and sometime up to three of the advertisement positions on the “all important” first page.  Google is rendering the paid and universal search listings as high as possible, but is pushing the SEO results “below the fold.”  Whereas in the past, a standard web search would yield four organic listings above the fold, this does not happen now until searchers commit to their search and the page re-renders.

This means that top ranking is now more important than ever. We believe users are less likely to scroll below the fold as related results are instantly reconfigured as the search query is completed.  Before a user would type in a search query, check the results, refine the search and then repeat the process until they found what they were looking for, there is now the potential that Google Instant helps with the delivery of this process.

From an SEO perspective –  Being 1 and 2 is now key.

This means that SEO tactics must change.  Traditionally, we’ve seen that users tend to spend a good portion of their time examining meta descriptions and we often recommend placing calls to action in the meta description to grab searchers’ attention and get them to click.

What Does Google Instant Mean For PPC?

With the prominent placement of the PPC results in the Google Instant page rendering, it is our prediction that Google Instant will also have a large impact on PPC performance and tactics.

So the first issue is “what now constitutes an impression?”  Google has released the following information to address this.   An impression will be counted if the user:

  • Presses ‘Enter’
  • Clicks on ‘Search’
  • Selects a prediction
  • Stays on page for >3 seconds
  • Clicks on a result
  • Clicks on a refinement (maps, news, latest)

The good news?  Advertisers will now receive sub three-second impressions for free (“free” meaning that these impressions do not impact quality score), so long as the user does not interact with the page in any of the ways mentioned above.  If your brand is present for all Google Instant refinements as searchers complete their queries, this is an indication that your products or services are relevant to what they seek.

The bad news?  If this change does in fact lead to shorter queries, AdWords CPCs may go up for many terms over the next several weeks, due to lower inventory of valuable keywords; more advertisers bidding on the same real estate means higher prices and lower ROI.  Good for Google.  Bad for advertisers.  Consumers – well, they are likely unconcerned.

We do believe that this change will impact your CTR and therefore your quality score.  Generally speaking, many advertisers can expect their impression count to go down on longer tail terms.  This translates to lower awareness, which over time, means lower market share.

We expect advertisers to see a drop in traditionally high volume head terms.

What to Test And What To Watch For?

There is no need to change metrics.  Monitoring all KPIs related to SEO and SEM should, of course, remain consistent. However, we also recommend filtering those metrics by browser.  Here’s why.  Google Instant search is not supported in Internet Explorer Versions below 8, Firefox Versions less below Version 3 – so results from those browsers are not being impacted by this feature.  Google Instant search is supported in Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8.

The full article has much more and is fantastic, as well as giving a real insight about what people should do.

Related posts: Google Instant launched

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One Response to A really good article around the impact of instant search on SEO & PPC

  1. SEO X2 says:

    To me honestly Google instant has all the good things for the searchers and the SEO community in general. All it is trying to do is to help the people get around with their results in less time. Google’s own business model is dependent on SEO how can it afford to put that away with instant search. Google knows and understands the risks and cannot afford to loose the already threatened market share.

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