What Google Instant Means for Your SEO and SEM

Recently, Google launched their brand new Google Instant, which delivers real-time results as a user types their search queries, without them having to even hit the “Search” button. Google states that their new Google Instant cuts down on search query times by 2-5 seconds per search.

But there are a few other things to keep in mind about how this might affect your SEO and SEM campaigns and website traffic.

Immediate Search Results

The first noticeable difference is that a user will immediately be provided with search results as they type. This, depending on your viewpoint and particular search query, could be either a benefit, or a drawback.

The drawback comes into play for those brands or businesses who share similar portions of their names with larger brands, or who focus on local markets.

For example, if your business is a local shoe store located in the Tampa area, if someone begins to type a search for shoe stores in Tampa, “shoe store” will immediately show results before they can finish their search query.

Potential Distractions

In relation to the immediate results, one of the biggest perceived drawbacks to Google Instant is the fact that it can cause potential distractions for users.

If the user in the example above was looking for a shoe store in Tampa, but they were immediately given results on a national or international level when typing “shoe store” before they could finish their keyword combination, then that local shoe store in Tampa could potentially lose a prospect because of the user becoming distracted by the immediate results.

Perhaps the user sees an attractive Adwords ad, or an interesting organic result. At that point, the local shoe store may lose a sale to an online store such as Zappos or other larger internet supplier.

More Ad and Organic Impressions

One positive, notable change will be the fact that most websites, businesses, and advertisers should see an increase in overall organic and paid search impressions.

More impressions obviously means more opportunities to be seen.

By instantly loading search results as a query is typed, websites, businesses, and advertisers might benefit a little more from focusing a little more effort on a little more generalized search terms, rather than placing all their focus on longer keyword combinations.

Could Cause More Clicks for Generalized Search Terms

Due to the fact that users may be clicking ads for more generalized search terms because of the way Google Instant returns results instantly, businesses should be even more aware of the types of search terms they are targeting in their SEM campaigns.

The change could cause clicks from users who may not be completely pre-qualified the way they would have been before by using specific keyword combinations.

So, businesses and advertisers should take caution and make sure their keyword combinations for their search engine marketing campaigns are really focused on their optimal target audience, or these businesses and advertisers might find themselves spending a lot more money than they had anticipated on their pay-per-click campaigns.

Could Change Longtail Keyword Results

Longtail keyword combinations are keyword searches that are typically 5 or more words long and provide an opportunity for websites and businesses to really hone in on their target demographics even further, and utilize less-used search terms in order to pay less per click with their SEM campaigns, and have an easier time reaching the first page with their organic results from their SEO efforts.

Google Instant could change the value of longtail keyword combinations due to the instant results displayed as a user types. This could alter how much time people actually spend typing their original search term. Because of the possibility of distraction, users could stop at the 3rd or 4th word and not end up completing their longtail search.

Overall, this could mean that larger brands with much larger budgets could benefit, while smaller businesses and brands with small budgets and strategies that help them maximize their efforts might end up suffering.


All of the above is purely speculation at this point and it remains to be seen what sort of impact Google Instant is truly going to have on the search engine optimization and search engine marketing arena.

As with any major shift in an industry, there will no doubt be benefits and drawbacks.

Over time, the key will be that businesses and websites work with professional SEO firms and SEM firms who are aware of industry changes and monitor what impact those changes have, both on large, and the more common, small businesses.

About the Author: Keith Goolsby

As President of Jetfuel Creative, Keith's 10 years of ad agency experience allows him to cut through the marketing "buzzword" clutter and deliver meaningful solutions for clients who need to reach more of their target audience.


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