General Search News, Google, Organic Search

Google Instant – Paid & Organic Search Implications

Twitter: @ProximityWW
VP Measurement, Optimization & Search

2 Comments 08 September 2010

Google Instant, “a new search enhancement that shows results as you type”, was launched today for users searching while signed into their Google accounts. Google describes three benefits of the new technology viagra soft without prescription


Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.


Overall, I believe Local Search will see the most immediate and obvious impact from Google Instant. Anyone searching for anything beginning with a city name will potentially be incredibly distracted. For example, while searching for [chicago restaurants], I get to [chicago re] and see listings for real estate. Sure, why not look up home values in my neighborhood. In another example, while searching for [new york metro], I reach [new york me] – Hey the Mets won tonight.

While the claim is that Google Instant will help users “even when they don’t know exactly what they’re looking for”, it could, in fact, distract users with content they never intended to look for in the first place.


Using another local search example, what happens when a user searching for [cincinnati mortgage] stops at [cincinnati mo] because they saw local movie times? And more importantly, what happens to the four paid ads that were triggered by a presumed movie-based query? If the user looked at the movie times for more than three seconds, all of the paid movie ads just received an impression (there are also other ways those ads could receive impressions). Already, there is a lot of chatter about rising impressions, diluted clicks, lower click-through rates, lower quality scores and higher costs.

Google has admitted that this may be the case. The Analytics, AdWords and Webmaster Tools blogs all say essentially the same thing:

With Google Instant, you may notice an increase in impressions

It will be interesting to see how this plays out on the paid search front. Especially the potential for competitors to bid on shortened versions of competitive brand terms. For example, Honda could place paid search ads on the term [corol] and have Accord ads show up before Toyota ads even have a chance to be displayed.


This implication is partly in jest, but Google Instant makes knowing how to spell something quite unnecessary. I am ashamed to admit how often I rely on the ‘Did you mean…’ feature to correct my spelling. Before today, I would at least have to make a valiant effort to spell my complete query as accurately as possible and then sheepishly click submit before being gently corrected by Google. Now I just have to know the first few letters and without even having to click I am, potentially, shown what I was looking for.

These are, of course, only initial impressions after the first few hours. There will certainly be more discovery, questions and issues that surface in the coming days.


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