Google’s Instant Search Results

Yesterday Google announced its latest search innovation, Instant Search Results. As Google puts it, “Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster.”

Google states that the benefits of instant search are faster searches and assistance for those instances where you just aren't sure what you are searching for. Google's research indicates that this new feature will speed up a person's search by 2 to 3 seconds. Many in the search marketing industry are concerned about the effect this change will have on paid search, SEO and user behavior.

Will this kill SEO? Hardly. Even Google's Matt Cutts on his latest blog post http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/thoughts-on-google-instant/ has stated “No! Almost every new change at Google generates the question “Will X kill SEO?” Here’s an video I did last year, but it still applies:

What impact will it have?
The Google Suggest feature has suggested search terms as the user has typed for some time now and this will extend that functionality. I think this will reduce the number of long tail keywords that searchers use and ultimately streamline the different number of search terms used by people. Basically it will funnel those into more popularly used terms, since those would be recommended more.

This in turn will place more competitive pressure on those search terms that will receive concentrated use. I think this will make it more important for companies to work with experts with regards to SEO and paid search as the field gets more and more competitive for a tighter group of keywords. While this change will have an impact, I do not believe it will be nearly as impactful as Google's individualized search results as they continue to push that functionality more. Also, I haven't read anyone speculating on the personalized customization of the new Instant Search Results, but I would bet that it will happen.

There are a number of other changes that will be coming out in the near term. The rumors are that Google will announce shortly that they will expand the number of search results returned beyond 10 as the default.

The takeaways that everyone should realize from this are that the search field is a constantly changing environment and will continue to be so in the future. These new innovations make it even more complex which makes it more important that you find those you can rely on for their expertise.