Google Suggest has evolved. As you type in a search phrase, Google tries to predict what you’re searching and refreshes the results as you type. Results continue to change as you continue typing.
According to Google’s announcement about Instant Search:
Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.
For example, take a look at the screenshot below. I typed in “F” which appears in a black font, then Google added “acebook” which appears in light gray. A SERP appeared with results based on a “Facebook” search. As I continued typing, Google continued making suggestions and the SERP updated immediately based on the new “predictions.” In addition to all that, the ever-familiar drop down menu of suggested search phrases appears too.
Example of Google’s Predictive Search
Does This Mean Your SEO is in the Toilet?
With every search change comes the question, “Is SEO dead?” If there came a day when only 10 websites existed and there was no need for a page two and beyond, or when making money online was no longer desirable, or when webmasters/companies didn’t care where they ranked, then sure, maybe that day SEO would be dead.
Until then, the answer is no, this does not mean that your site and existing optimization will go down the toilet. It does; however, mean you have some homework ahead of you. Part of Google’s intent with Instant Search is that users will be able to identify better search phrases “on the fly” or that Instant will help guide them to better results. This mean you definitely want to play around with the new Google Instant to see what terms searchers are presented with.
Type in words someone might use to find a site in your niche. Pay attention to what terms are suggested early on, near the top of the list and in longer phrases. Are these terms you should be optimizing for? Are these terms you’re already ranking well for? If so, you might need to tighten your optimization and gear up for more competition.
Google Instant Infomercial
According to the official Google Instant site, Google claims that the average searcher spends more than 9 seconds simply entering a search term. There were also instances of users taking a half of a minute to a minute and a half to refine their search phrases. With Instant, Google feels they can shave off 2-5 seconds per search.
How to Turn off Live Streaming?
Annoying? Distracting? How do you turn this thing off? To the right of the Search button is a link that allows you to turn Instant on or off.
“About Google Instant.” Google. Web. 13 Sept. 2010.
Mayer, Marissa. “Search: Now Faster than the Speed of Type.” Official Google Blog. 08 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Sept. 2010.