Google’s Instant, 2 Weeks In

We haven’t put out a reaction to Google Instant, that has some in our industry pulling their hair out and others sitting back and laughing.  Some think it’s the death of SEO while others think it will be ultimately discarded as a failed experiment.  The reality is somewhere in between.  Until it’s been around for a while, no one really knows what it’s impact will be on users and how it will affect website rankings.  So we’ve resisted the urge to pile on along with everyone else.  Just a couple of weeks in, however, some ideas on possible scenarios are starting to emerge.

First of all, it hasn’t changed searches when you use the built-in search box of any modern browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc…).  Using the browser’s search box works just like the old search, and will until that changes.  And my guess is that a lot of people use that box instead of going to

Secondly, there is an early report indicating that Google Instant is actually encouraging users to scroll further down a search page than before.  This appears to be due to the fact that Google Instant’s suggestion box pushes all of the results down the page, and users appear to be compensating by scrolling further to see more results.  This same observation also indicated a trend that users are less likely to go several pages past the first.  A bit of a mixed result there and worth keeping an eye out.

Clearly Google Instant will change some things about user behavior and ultimately what keywords businesses should be targeting but the fact is that we’re still very early in to this experiment.  Time will tell whether people need to panic or not, but even these early results show that it may make expert SEO even more important than in the past.

[Cat photo credit .schill and Mrs eNil]

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