Heard of Google Instant yet? Well if not, you will soon! It’s Google’s latest attempt to make their search engine faster than anyone else’s. Faster, sexier, smarter. It’s faster because, now, as you type your search query into Google, results appear AS YOU TYPE. And the results change as you continue to type and refine your search query.
See below for an example. Now, as you actually type, suggestions start to show up below. So as you type “website marketing”, other popular search terms that Google thinks are you likely to be looking for start to show up below.
Earlier this year we had Google Caffeine, and now Google Instant. Caffeine + Instant = you get the fastest, freshest search results you’ve ever seen before you’ve even figured out what you were looking for! Some say this is invasive and annoying. Others say it’s handy and nifty. Google says it’s time-saving and efficient. They estimate that using Google Instant saves 2 to 5 seconds with every search, and up to 11 hours every second worldwide.
We’ve got all the ‘shakes’ about how this will affect our website marketing
The shakes are a good thing…. we’ll tell you why in a moment, but first things first: where your website shows up in Google – your ‘rank’ / position won’t change. That’s because the Google algorithm that determines search results has not changed. So you’ll stay there for the keywords you’re targeting (if your SEO company is doing a good job that is!).
However, it will change how people search. What you didn’t know: this is a great opportunity for businesses who are advertising! – particularly for those who have already got an SEO project underway. Let us explain…
How does Google Instant work?
Let’s say you need better office lighting, as it’s gloomy in your office and you’re getting sore eyes having to squint at the computer screen all day. So you jump online and search for ‘cheap table lamps online’. If you try typing that in, you’ll see that as you type, the results change. First, you’ll get irrelevant results for the word ‘cheap’, and then more irrelevant results start to show as you get to ‘cheap table’, and then finally, relevant results when you type in ‘cheap table lamps’.
But you’ll probably stop there. Even though you intended to specify that you wanted ‘cheap table lamps ONLINE’… you most likely won’t end up clarifying the last bit, because you’ve already seen relevant search results, and away you’ll go…
So what’s the business opportunity then?
The most important factor for advertisers is that people will probably type less when they search – at least initially while Google Instant is still very new, and people are getting used to using it. This means that the long tail keyword terms (more than 1 or 2 keywords) you’re targeting will get less traffic. However, the ‘short tail’ keywords (like ‘lamps’ or ‘table lamps’) will likely get much more traffic!
Opportunity 1: to be more targeted with the keywords you want to show up for, and to ensure you have a long term business strategy for ‘short tail’, competitive keywords. These are also very important terms for strategic business positioning in your industry. If you can rank well for these ‘short tail’ keywords, and you might already, then get ready for a huge spike in traffic!
Opportunity 2: Once everyone gets used to Google Instant, they will start to search smarter as they warm further to the long-tail search. So this means there is an opportunity for businesses to develop a specific strategy for the ‘long tail’, less competitive but very relevant keywords. You may have already optimised around long-tail, and that’s great, but if you haven’t, then it’s certainly worth taking a closer look at what opportunities exist.
What’s your search marketing strategy like?
In the past, SEO companies may have told you that their SEO strategy for you is 100% focused on long tail keywords, since they have significant accumulative search volume, and because they’re far less competitive you’ll get there quicker. All this is true. However, now there is a much stronger case for being bold and AGGRESSIVE, and targeting the short tail keywords that your ego loves!
If you sell lights, you want to be there for lights! In some countries, this is a real challenge. In New Zealand, we believe it’s achievable (for most categories, there are certainly a few exceptions), as long as there is a solid long-term strategy in place.
Now it’s more justifiable than ever to invest in your website’s visibility at a high level. It’s essential to have a long term positioning strategy in place for the increasingly high volume keywords that people may stop typing at. Why type in ‘lights online new zealand’, when they’ve found what they’re after at ‘lights’?
You can prepare for this is by sitting down with your SEO provider and developing a long-term search marketing strategy, and assigning an ongoing marketing budget to attain and retain strong ranking for these terms. Your SEO investment can now be more focused and strategic. As long as you’ve got a search marketing company who you’re confident in, you don’t need to pull any hairs out … apart from the grey ones.
In terms of keyword research, Google Instant means the need to look even more closely at some of the suggestions that Google provides in the search box. But that’s not new. Google’s beating war drums and your long-tail keywords could well be cannon fodder –at least in the short term anyway. So be sure to have solid reinforcement and a game plan in place – and seize the opportunity!