Razorfish’s search experts answer key questions on Google Instant

Over at Scatter/Gather (a Razorfish content strategy blog), Adam Heimlich (Group Search Director) and Raymond Rosti (Search Director) revisit “Google Instant” and its impact on SEO and SEM… only this time they’re doing with a few months of data, analysis and hindsight to educate their views on the post-Instant world.

Some interesting bits (because we all love summaries):

What is your opinion about the impact of Google Instant for search?  Is it the game changer everyone claims it to be?

For organic search, our major concern with the release of Google Instant surrounded how it would affect users’ search behaviors surrounding the depth of their keyword query.  Over the past 5 years, we have noticed users become much savvier in search queries, averaging 3 and 4 keywords per search.  From an organic optimization perspective, this was welcome news as it broadened the keyword universe and gave smaller websites a chance of ranking for less competitive keywords. What we are seeing with our clients is that Google Instant is increasing the variations of keywords used to get to a website, but this has not impacted overall traffic volumes. Keep in mind that these [keyword variation changes] are less than 2%.

Over the past five years, Google has only made one update that completely changed the search landscape: the introduction of Universal Search. Every other change added emphasis on the basic concepts of search.  If your SEO strategy has a strong foundation and clear goals, then nothing Google does should drastically change how you approach search marketing.

How do you think SEO practices need to evolve for companies to best adapt to Google Instant?

Reprioritize your organic keyword focus

…We recommend that marketers review their keyword data pre and post Google Instant and identify which keywords are no longer driving traffic…

Google Instant Hasn’t Killed SEO

…Google Instant hasn’t drastically changed the search landscape, and the results we are seeing are small percentage shifts in keywords.  At its core, we are still focused on optimizing for how people are searching…

Understand Keywords Being Suggested

…Understanding what Google is suggesting is going to be important for organic success.  It’s also important to note that Google continually improves features without much fanfare. We anticipate that Instant Search will continue to evolve, which means the keyword suggestions will continually shift as Google learns more about how users are adopting this feature.

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