Google Instant Search Myths Debunked

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emmadavis | Friday, September 10th, 2010

Filed under: Advanced, Advanced, Basic, Basic, Intermediate, Intermediate, PPC Tips & Advice, SEO Tips & Advice

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Before you let the news about Google’s new Instant Search function cause you to run through the SEO streets screaming, “the sky is falling!”, make sure you know the facts. The blogosphere is buzzing with fear-mongering and paranoia about what Google Instant Search means for SEO and internet marketing, but not all information is created equal. Here are some common misconceptions regarding Google’s latest entry in the search world.

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Myth #1 – Google Instant Search means fewer clicks and a drop in conversions.

False! While it may seem like organic listings appear and disappear like magic with Google’s Instant Search, the truth is that your users will actually find you more frequently. The key is that visits from irrelevant user searches should drop while people searching for your product or related terms will actually find you more easily. If a user sees your organic link after searching for a relevant query, and the link is promising, chances are they will click it. If your link doesn’t appear helpful, well, that’s a different problem. Instant Search only means that your organic listings will more accurately match the searches that users are conducting. Ultimately this will mean a steady rise in qualified traffic and hopefully a visible increase in conversions.

Myth #2 – Google Instant Search makes SEO obsolete.

False again. This one couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Google Instant Search will force search engine optimizers to properly do their jobs and stop relying on under-the-table or “blackhat” techniques to accomplish their SEO goals. The coveted top three organic listing spots will be more influencial than ever because the results of any given search query will be that much more accurate. So if your SEO business is to optimize sites for search terms that aren’t actually relevant just to generate traffic, then you might find yourself needing to pick up the pieces and formulate a new plan. However, if you sought from the beginning to strengthen the search engine optimization of keywords that truly help a user connect with your product, then Google Instant Search will only make your SEO work better.

Myth #3 – Google Instant Search messes with PPC ad placement and rankings.

False. Are we seeing a trend here? It’s funny to me that so many smart people would assume that Google would allow a new product (Instant Search) to negatively affect a tried and true success (Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising). The effect on PPC ad placement is similar to the effect on organic search listings. When a search query matches to an ad, the ad shows up. If the user changes the search query so that it no longer matches the ad, a new set of correctly-matched ads will replace it. Guess what, advertisers? You’re still only paying if a user clicks on your ad. Therefore if your ad is compelling and speaks to users searching for a product, they will still click on it when they see it if it is useful. If it isn’t, the user will reformulate the search and find more relevant ads. Again, if you’ve been playing the game the right way all along, Google Instant Search will only mean increased performance when it come to pay-per-click search advertising.

Myth #4 – Google Instant Search will be too personalized to individual users.

And…. False. Google Instant Search is like an over-eager assistant, chomping at the bit to deliver search results that match what you’re looking for, going so far as to adapt on-demand to the whims of your search query editing. If you’re signed in with your Google account, chances are Instant Search will begin to record your search behavior and remember how you respond to certain topics. A perfect example of this would be if you entered the search query “dolphins”, then added “Miami” afterwards. Chances are that next time you search for “dolphins”, Google will suggest content about the Miami Dolphins before webpages dealing with the fun-loving aquatic mammals of the same name. Guess what? No matter how you feel about this level of personalization, this is no new phenomenon and really has nothing to do with Instant Search. Google has tracked users by Google account and even by IP since 2005 in order to deliver higher-quality results to individuals. Google Instant Search (say it with me now!) only seeks to make this existing Google service work better for you.

The one area that I can foresee Google Instant Search having an important impact on would be traffic tracking and analytics measurement. The important distinction is that while Instant Search might change the way we record data and measure internet marketing success, it won’t tangibly change the way we use Google’s products to accomplish this success.

Has Google’s Instant Search affected the way you plan internet marketing strategy? We’d love to hear from you so leave a comment, and get in touch if you’d like to take advantage of a free consultation to learn more about how Instant Search and other internet marketing elements can help your business succeed online.

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