Now that Google Instant search has been with us for a while, it’s time to look back and see exactly what all the fuss has been about. How exactly has Google Instant changed SEO?
Those who have been around the SEO world for a while may recall that people in the search engine optimization business were predicting that the sky was falling back in September because Google Instant made it almost impossible to do SEO.
The Sky Isn’t Falling After All
I’m sure that back around the turn of the century, when keyword met tags were dropped as a means of indexing sites that webmasters of the time also believed that the sky was falling. A fundamental change took place at the time, but people adapted. Both those who do white hat SEO and those who still try to game the system, doing black hat SEO.
Some Things Have Changed. Others Haven’t
Now, with the advent of Google Instant, things have certainly changed again, though the sky still isn’t falling. It’s just that certain things need to change with the new technology if we hope to remain relevant. Before we go into ways that Google Instant affects SEO, let’s just make clear that one thing definitely has not changed at all: content is still king.
Now, more than ever, all those who love to engage in black hat SEO techniques will find it harder than ever to get by with junk content because fewer and fewer people will ever get to see it since Google will attempt to return results that really are relevant that much faster.
Plus, getting links back to your content (which ultimately means writing content that others will think is worth linking to) is important as well so that you can diversify your results and not rely exclusively on SEO. In other words, now more than ever, content really is king.
Keyword Usage Needs to Be Different
With Google Instant offering instant results, it’s important to target short, one or two word keywords. That’s because the moment people start typing, results start coming up. If a searcher finds what he’s looking for with those few words, they’ll stop and not bother continuing. So does that mean long tail SEO is dead? Not by a long shot.
Long Tail SEO Needs to Stick Around as Well
This may sound like a reversal of what was previously noted, however it really isn’t. Don’t forget that Google Instant does two things. It both offers results as you type and it offers suggested searches that the user may be interested in.
This means that while long tail may become a bit less useful if searchers find the results they need right away, it could also prove extremely useful if they choose one of the suggestions that Google offers them.
Being in the Top 3 Is More Important Than Ever
One definite negative change to SEO efforts from Google Instant has been that being on the first page of the SERPs is no longer enough. Since the SERP changes every time another word is typed, if you want to get the maximum exposure, being amongst the first few results is more important than ever because the entire page likely won’t be seen by most searchers.