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As usual, Google drops a new feature, and the blogosphere becomes overwrought with suggestions that SEO is dead. Honestly, if Google Instant kills your success in SEO, you’ve been doing it wrong.
Google Instant Performance Improvement
We all need to take a deep breath and remember that search marketing is more about marketing than about search. If you get your knickers in a twist every time Google changes its ranking algorithm or its user interface, then you aren’t focusing on the marketing part, just the search part.

Yes, it’s true that Google Instant will change what people search for and what they click on, just as a change to Google’s ranking algorithm changes what sites get shown and clicked. So, if you’ve been happily sitting around in the #1 slot for a popular keyword, Google Instant might change how many people see and click on your site, because it might talk them into completing a different keyword than what they set out to enter.

Live with it.

If you’re focused on rankings or even traffic, you are focused on the wrong thing. It’s all about the conversions.

If you’ve been focusing on conversions, you haven’t been sitting around expecting that everyone will type in your favorite popular #1 keyword. You’ve been working on optimizing for many variations, including deep (long tail) keywords that few people look for.

Some people say that Google Instant will cause fewer people to search for those less popular keywords, because they’ll just follow the suggestions, but Google Suggest has been around a long time, so we’ve already seen this movie, and I wonder if something else will happen.

We already know that fewer and fewer people, with each passing year, go to page 2 of the search results, preferring to enter a second query and spin again. With Google Instant, might people scan the results as they type and enter longer keyword phrases until they see what they want coming up?

We should also remember that many people never use Google’s site, preferring toolbars from Google or from their browser. While those toolbars might suggest keywords, they certainly do not show search results on the fly.

And a certain Bing search engine seems to power almost one-quarter of all U.S. queries. So, whatever havoc Google Instant wreaks on search marketers will affect a lot of searches, but it doesn’t affect them all.

The bottom line with Google Instant is that, like most search engine changes, you win some and you lose some (and some are rained out). But if you’ve been focusing on everything that your searchers need, you’ll find that you weather changes better than if you calculate everything you do to please the way Google works right now.

If you are into Google-pleasing, then, when Google sneezes, you catch a cold.

Categories: Search, SEO, SEM
There is 1 comment for this entry

Good stuff. I couldn’t agree more. As much as strategy is an important part of the business game, at the end of the day, it’s about doing the right thing the way it’s meant to be done. If we’re out there trying to beat the Google algorithm, I agree with Mike, we’ll catch a cold every time Google changes it. The intention is to create true relevancy, the real kind. If we focus on SEO from the perspective of truly optimizing a website’s relevancy so that the end user is really getting to the sites that are most conducive to what they are looking for, as Google adds more precision, so can we.

10:42 am September 13th, 2010
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