Effect of Google Instant on SEO & AdWords?

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If you type “Google” in to Google, the internet will break; or so the old legend goes. With today’s launch of Google Instant, however, I found myself doing exactly just that. Or typing “Google Instant” into Google Instant to be more precise.

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. So, for example, just by typing the letter ‘w’, Google shows information related to what it anticipates you’ll type – ‘weather’. By predicting your search and showing you results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save you 2-5 seconds per search.

Check out this catchy promo video featuring Bob Dylan!

But what difference is this likely to make to people’s search habits and what knock on affect will this have on AdWords and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Here’s a run-down of first impressions of what Google Instant could mean for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in general and AdWords specifically:

  • “I am actually not sure yet how this will affect my ad campaigns. At a minimum, I would expect an impression count to go down”

– John Ellis, searchingireland.com.

  • “The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time.”

– Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, mattcutts.com.

  • “Searching on Google is going to become a much speedier process for the end user, who may now be less likely than ever to click through to the second page of results”

John Paul Titlow, readwriteweb.com

  • “It seems to me that the top three rankings will get even more value”

Ian Lurie, conversationmarketing.com


If all this seems rather vague and speculative, then this direct quote from adwords.google.com should hopefully clear things up:

  • Google Instant might increase or decrease your overall impression levels.”


What do you think?

Are you likely to type more words into Google with Google Instant, or less?

If it’s more, the cost of long tail AdWords keywords is likely to increase. If it’s fewer, then the price of the already competitive and expensive keywords may increase further.

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2 Responses to Effect of Google Instant on SEO & AdWords?

  1. Jordan McClements September 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    I guess that (on average) it’ll be the same for everyone i.e. if my overall CTR goes down for certain keywords then it should go down equally for other advertisers, therefore not affecting my CPC. If the value of shorter keywords increases and costs for those keywords rise, then they will also rise for everyone else??

  2. Louise McCartan September 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for your response. You may be right. The thing is, not everyone may be able to keep up with CPC rises. Most advertisers have a limit in mind – if it goes above that they may be knocked out of that market – leaving those keywords to the bigger players. It’s hard to yet know how much of an effect this is likely to have on advertisers, though I’d expect the cost of advertising to increase somewhere. Personally, I’d like to see more traffic in the longtail – it’s surely a better long term move for Google and advertisers.


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