Google Instant Stirs Advertisers’ Fear and Loathing

Google "Instant" has turbocharged search speeds for its users

Ericka Morphy is an Independent Online Media journalist who has written this article for the E-Commerce times. She writes about the new Google ‘Instant’ function that has been implemented into the Google US site. Article Link.

Ericka Morphy reports in this article about the new Google search feature been implemented, is supposed to shave off time searching compared to the users typical method of searching. She suggests the negatives outweigh the benefits for search engine marketers and the new function will not provide users with a quicker search result, but change the pattern in how users search.

Google instant basically works by allowing the search results in Google to appear dynamically and on the fly as the user is entering in their keyword or key-phrase. The new feature is only available on the US Google site for the moment and requires the browsers of Mozilla’s Firefox version 3, Google’s Chrome version 5, Internet Explorer 8 and Safari version 5 for Mac to function correctly.

In the article CEO of ShopVisible Sean Cook, says the method of searching by entering phrases or sentences diminishes and the emphasis will be shifted towards searching via keywords. The other fear that is felt by the launch of Google Instant is that it will drive prices up for popular search terms and if your site is not ranking on the first page of the results listings, it will be missed all together.

I myself felt that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and had a go. It is quick and quite an interesting approach to searching. I performed numerous searchers by entering the exact words and phrases into both Google Instant and Google original and what I found is that both versions would return the same results and listings.

Sean Cook comments in the article about the nature of users and how they will become increasingly impatient and demand instant gratification. He goes on and suggests if the user is receiving consecutive results as they are typing their search criteria, they will opt for the first thing that looks relevant. I fail to see how this is different to the current way users search? Users on the net generally search with a purpose in which they utilise search engine services to find something they are looking for and not to browse. If I was in the process of searching for home builders and as I got to the letter ‘u’ in builders, Google Instant returns listings related to home buyers, this would not stop me in my tracks and cause me to look into home buyers. My purpose was to research builders, not veer off and accept whatever Google is feeding me.

For those who opt for paid search marketing, the theory that Google instant will cause prices to increase on popular search terms can be contested. According to Dave Chaffey’s Internet Marketing (page 518, chapter 9) Google adopts its ‘Quality score’ assessment for ranking paid ads. The summary for the formula is:

Quality score = (keyword’s click-through rate, ad text relevance, keyword relevance, landing page relevance and other methods of assessing relevance)

Higher rankings for paid advertising in Google are measured on many factors, Dave Chaffey makes mention that it is not necessarily the case that whichever company is prepared to pay the most per click will get the top spot.

Content is King

The best practice that will pay dividends for advertisers and search engine marketers is to always keep the content on their company’s site rich, relevant and interesting. Relevant content to what your company does will draw in the right audience, rich content will always have your users periodically coming back to your site and interesting content may drum up conversations about your company. These methods can help generate noise about your company and website, noise which aids in link building, online awareness and keeps your company honest. Google now deploys AdBots to check if the paid advertising actually links to a site that is relevant to what the ad is advertising.

The Final word

The new google instant to me does not present itself as a ploy to drive prices up for popular search terms. Paid advertising is for some but not for all, some advertisers or search engine marketers may decide to target organic, whatever the desired approach is Google’s mission statement has always remained as ‘ To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ On the official Google blog, Google spoke about the extensive user testing they went through in order to create this service, it is quite obvious that Google Instant was designed for bringing information easier and more accessible to the user. I think their statement in the blog post sums it up the best:

“This is just the beginning of a new kind of “conversational” search interaction. We will continue to experiment, as we always have—and with the help of your feedback, we hope to make Instant even better over time! While it’s a big change, I personally believe that we’ll look back and wonder how search was ever any other way…” Ben Gomes, Distinguished Engineer for Google


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