Google Instant — Instantly Changing the Way We Search?

Google announced a new feature this morning named Google Instant that focuses on returning search results faster than ever. The already fast search engine just got faster by returning results as you type.

According to the product page it intends to bring:


  1. Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
  2. Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
  3. Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.


We’re just diving into this and looking at all the possible impacts on SEO but some initial thoughts we’ve had include:

  • “Sites will see an increase in traffic to the broader keyword terms vs. the long-tail because results begin to appear immediately.” — Nelson James, President
  • “Google Instant shouldn’t affect the SERPs at all, what it should do is define how we are determining our keyword research.” — David Malmborg, Sr. SEO Specialist
  • “This will make for some interesting searches when searching for things like analysis.” — Christian Greiner, SEO Specialist
  • “This will surely bring down the overall number in Search Volume.” — Scott Smoot, SEO Manager
  • “Getting primary keywords at the front of page title tags might need to become a bigger priority now.” — Dustin Williams, SEO Manager
  • “Search queries with a simple information goal, e.g., word definitions, rank checks, etc. will be resolved without a click-through.” — Scott Cowley, SEO Manager
  • “Google Instant may have deeply negative effects on businesses, especially small businesses. Now, more than ever, small businesses are at the mercy of Google suggestions in terms of keywords used.” — David Scoville, Web Developer
  • “I think it’ll have more of an impact on marketing your site as a whole, rather than focusing on one or even a set of specific keywords. You’ll now need to make your site relevant to your industry/niche as a whole.” — Vince Blackham, Social Media Manager
  • “It will certainly make it even more important to have current information on the site.” — Rick Hardman, Sr. SEO Specialist

It appears that not all accounts have access to Google Instant just yet and that you must be logged into your account for it to work.

What are your thoughts?

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10 Comments

  1. says

    I think the most important thing for anyone in this industry is to pay attention and be willing to adapt and change as Google changes. Time will tell what will need to be adjusted.

    I can’t way for the “seo is dead” post to come around again. There is always a surge of them with things like this.

  2. Alan Bleiweiss says

    It means people who have been selling ice to Eskimos (in the form of “optimize for lower volume phrases that have less competition because it’s easier” as their only method of keyword decisions) are in trouble. SEO is not dead. It now requires people to actually think more before they make decisions, and it means they have to actually spend more time properly optimizing.

  3. Christian Greiner says

    It’s a fun toy, but I can’t imagine it having any noticeable impact on SEO. After all, when was the last time you went to http://www.google.com to do a search? Not only will it have no impact for those who use the google search box within their browser (where 99% of my searches take place), but it doesn’t look like it will impact those using iGoogle either (the other 1% of my searches). In the end there is no point in changing an optimization strategy for the handful of people who will actually be impacted by Google Instant.

    • says

      Christian, I’m like you in that I don’t use Google’s homepage very often. However, I did hear Marissa Mayer say that GI will be rolling out in browsers (especially Chrome) within a few months.

    • Seth Morrison says

      I agree Christian, most people don’t start their searches on Google’s homepage, but they usually end there. I use the toolbar at first, but I find myself typing directly into google’s query field after that.

      To be completely honest, as a user I was quite annoyed with it. It just seemed to get in my way.

      As far as SEO is concerned, I would expect that it will help determine target keywords because so many people will use the suggestions. Just my two cents.

  4. Scott Cowley says

    InstaG may be getting a lot of press right now, but my feeling is that it won’t take hold and that in several months, we’ll see Google make it optional instead of default. After playing around with it yesterday, I’ve already turned it off. With more and more of my searches being long-tail, getting instant results off of a shortened version of my intended query doesn’t do jack for me.

  5. says

    I played with it all day yesterday too and I mostly found it annoying. It didn’t help me solve any problems I couldn’t do on my own and it didn’t get me to the information any faster than previously. I realize I’m not the average user but time will tell if changes will be made to it or whether the market likes it.

  6. Dan Bischoff says

    I’m actually a little freaked out by Insta-G. My brain doesn’t seem to like having the computer tell me what I’m looking for before I’m done asking. And I find myself writing out the entire query anyway, just to make sure I get the right results.

  7. Kelly Hammer says

    I really didn’t Google instant either. It was very distracting. One potential SEO bump might be for people who optimize for long tail keyword phrases. If a searcher finds what their looking for before they finish typing out the long tail phrase, long tail could potentially lose out on some traffic.

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