It looks like the dust is starting to settle after yesterday’s announcement of Google Instant. As ever PR people decided to pronounce the death of SEO. After looking over a number of blogs today, testing out several queries two main points stick out to me.
1. Suggest has been around for a while
Google has been funnelling people into a certain key phrase since summer 2009. Google Suggest which was a Google labs project (99% sure it was) was rolled out and at the time many predicted that the long tail would reduce as users would be shifted to searching for the phrases they were suggested.
I don’t remember there being any major shifts in traffic on any the sites I worked on.
The difference this time is the results are being displayed to the user, this could have more of effect on the user being guided into a suggested search. That all depends on if the user is looking at the screen while typing. Gut feeling is that the majority of users do look at their keyboard while typing so they are oblivious to the changing serps and will type their full query regardless of what is happening on the screen.
So what people search for will remain the same, long tail quieres will still be conducted, all depends on if they keep their head up!
2. Being Good at SEO is even more important
Gaining a top position is even more important, e.g. an organic ranking not in the top 3 is useless. Two reasons, one the layout suggests people will instantly look at the number one ranking as the page changes (PPC if present unless the organic rank has sitelinks). This should happen as its the shortest distance from where your eyes were focused e.g. the search box. This means people are not going to look at the ads on the right hand side and results lower down the page. An eye tracking study on the new interface and old with the same key phrases would be very interesting.
Also with the other suggestions being displayed below the search box this physically pushes one or two organic ranks below the fold (depending on the size of your monitor). So if your not getting your clients rankings in the top three positions you beter get link building. take this example.
Old style Google has 7 Full organic listings
For Google instant you have 5 listing and just the title of the 6th listing
So some interesting changes to have to take into consideration when predicting CTR . Whatever the outcome for PPC and SEO campaigns I’m sure one thing is certain, Google will be making more money out of this!