Last week, Google launched new search functionality called Google Instant. Here are a few FAQ’s we put together on the subject:
1. What Is Google Instant? It’s a new feature that predicts what an online user is searching for, and shows results as the user types using Google's auto-suggest technology.
2. What are the benefits? (According to Google): Faster, smarter searches. Instant results allow searchers to find what they’re looking for without clicking a search button or pressing enter.
3. What has changed, and what has not? The basics of Google search are the same. Google has been predicting and suggesting search terms for at least a year based on personalized search history and location. Google Instant takes this feature a step further, displaying a full page of predictive results before the user is finished typing. With every character, the real time results change, as do the paid ads and map listings. The new display pushes at least one organic result “below the fold,” and shows fewer multiple map listings in the results. It’s important to note that Google Instant does not affect all Google search results. It can be turned off by users who don't like it. And, Google Instant is only available at Google.com -- for the countless users who search exclusively in their browser toolbar, nothing will change. (At least, not for now.)
4. Does Google Instant “kill SEO” or impact rankings? No. A well-rounded approach to content development and optimization should actually benefit from Google Instant. Now it’s simply faster, and the results will change as the query changes.
5. Does Google Instant ruin my PPC ads? No. Targeted pay-per-click ads continue to show as they normally would - just faster, and will change as the query changes.
We surveyed our own employees to find out what they think of Google Instant, and the responses were mixed. About half find it fast, convenient and time-saving. The other half complain that it’s distracting and annoying and the auto-fill is unhelpful. Can Google really read our minds? If they’re tracking how many people opt to turn off this feature, they won’t have to. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to monitor it and stay on top of how it affects measurement, tracking and analytics in the search space.
For more information, see this article on Search Engine Land.