Lots of rash statements get written by new media types after a press conference by Google, as an attempt to grab attention or to validate their business model by detrimenting that of others.
I am glad Matt Cutts, Marissa Mayer and many other Googlers have been fairly quick to defend the continued need for some kind of Search Engine Optimization, because ultimately a lot of what is SEO helps Google index content and find relevance.
Google Instant Video – Marissa Mayer
p.s. For those who think SEO still has no purpose, you would think between all the millions Ooyala have invested and a top tier user like Techcrunch they would somehow get their video optimization and embed code perfected for syndication.
Then again – Google must have a huge budget and that video won’t appear in a feed reader.
With the launch of Google Instant there has been a lot of chatter and I am joining the “me to” chatter with a few thoughts.
The Long Tail & Pareto
A lot gets written about the Long Tail… of anything and there are so many diagrams trying to explain the long tail in various scenarios. The long tail is very similar to Pareto’s 80:20 when applied to search marketing – what is worthy and provides measurable task ROI.
There are 2 ways people look on Long Tail search queries
- The likelyhood that someone will enter a particular search query
The number of keywords in the search query
With the increased emphasis on the use of search suggestions, for some users that is going to change significantly.
I say some users, because it will be interesting what happens when people who can’t type effectively use Google Instant – they are constantly looking at their keyboard rather than what is appearing on their screen.
They might have an incresed incentive to learn how to touch type because with every keystroke something changes on their screen in a very visible manner, but it will also encourage lots of pausing – not because what is on the screen is relevant to what they are looking for, but becasue it takes time to look up, see what has changed, look down again and find the next key.
Such a scenario of course is only going to happen with familiarity – eye tracking data currently suggests that regular Google users just bash out their queries ignoring the instant suggestions.
The thought is that what people typed was what was appearing as a suggestion anyway, but people still typed. It is impossible to tell if what appeared as a suggestion might have guided their typing in some cases, especially with slower typers.
Google suggest (now Instant) could be subliminal too.
I know people who take 3 seconds to find each key on the keyboard. I am sure you do too.
That rubberneck effect will skew search data in some way.
Google themselves state that for both Organic search (the impression data in Webmaster Tools) and for Adwords Impressions, things are calculated in the same way.
Impressions are measured in three ways with Google Instant:
- Your site is displayed in search results as a response to a user’s completed query (e.g. by pressing “enter” or selecting a term from autocomplete). This is the traditional model.With Google Instant, we also measure impressions in these new cases:
- The user begins to type a term on Google and clicks on a link on the page, such as a search result, ad, or a related search.
- The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds.
Regarding total revenue for Google, I think Greg Boser said it best
I mentioned to Laurie that Google Instant wouldn’t change search at all for 20% of searches. That seems to be highlighted by the number of filtered words and the ability of Google to adequately cope with the naughty word vocabulary of modern society.
Just a note if anyone from Google reads this, image search universal results do not give a warning for sites that may harm your computer from the main search index – do all browsers now have safe browsing protection?
- Is your website on speed dial?
- Does your domain name or brand trigger a competitor first?
- Should you go for brand or topical keyword?
- How many keystrokes is too many?
Andy Beal (marketing guy) has a problem to overcome.. Andy Beal (Billionaire) in Wikipedia, but I am sure he will eventually overcome that hurdle. $1B would however
buy a lot of links encourage lots of university benefactor links to a Wikipedia article.
That reminds me, I should have a chat with Jann about my image links.
I obviously need to rebrand as “Andy B” – don’t think that isn’t possible, and it could influence search traffic.
How many keystrokes are needed to bring up your site in the SERPs?
Rooting around the SEO blogosphere 6 or 7 seems to be very good – some sites it was as many as 14 keystrokes. That is a lot, with tons of competitors for attention in between.
We Have Seen It All Before?
I realise we have had Google suggest for a fairly long time in internet years but different brains work in different ways – and different searchers are looking for different content in their results, which is why visual search results with various forms of multimedia elements become more prevalent.
Googlers were claiming that Google Instant changed the way they internally performed queries – you can probably assume a high percentage of Googlers can touch type. They did beta test this for a while and rolled it out for everyone. If they hadn’t seem some positive gains from a general audience I doubt they would have launched it.
Google’s business is search.. the one area they can’t really afford total failures.
Oh and SEO Is Not Dead!