Google Instant=SEO Death/Double Rainbow~What does it mean?

I always laugh when something new is released or changed and it’s immediately hailed on the interwebs as a “game changer” or the “death” of something. Everyone rushes to say something provocative fast. I’ve done it in the past via Twitter so guilty as charged. It’s sooo easy (I instant harshed on iPads and Flipboard). 

Yesterday when Google Instant was launched I was kinda shocked to see Steve Rubel tweet

and

BOLD. INSTANT. PROVOCATIVE. STATEMENT. Check.

Click here to read Google’s announcement. 

Steve’s POV is that "no two people will see the same web…The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors…Google Instant means no one will see the same web anymore, making optimizing it virtually impossible. Real-time feedback will change and personalize people’s search behaviors."

Just to be clear - I have a great deal of respect for Steve Rubel of Edelman. He’s an interesting thought leader on all things digital. I’ve followed him and his writings for a long time. I appreciate his POV. I continue to do so and think that anyone who dismisses him is flat out nuts. 

In this instance, I think Steve jumped on the “Google Instant is going to kill SEO” express just a bit too soon and here’s why. 

Smart Search Engine Optimization involves very holistic approaches - not just key words, not just tags, headers, type of content, page and site structure, product plan, marketing plans, etc. How we view the content is the same - it’s just the searching mechanism got sped up. The speed of Google Instant is interesting. Behavior will change over time. We will learn more about it, play with it, and test different ideas. SEO tactics will adjust. No doubt about it. But die? Hardly.  Remember how personalization was supposed to kill SEO?

Intuitively it doesn’t really matter that if no two people see the exact same search results or the exact same web. For the searcher, as long as the results returned are relevant, that’s all that matters. I find what I’m looking for and I’m happy. For the marketer, as long as we holistically optimize sites and content so that our site or content appears near the top slots of organic search results, we will capture valuable organic traffic. If our content is not valued by engines, bloggers, and sites, or not ultimately relevant to a search, it won’t matter. 

At least those were my initial thoughts. But I’m not Mr. SEO expert although I have a fair amount of experience with both SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). So I asked my friend and serious SEO/SEM big brain Chris Bassolino his thoughts about Google Instant and Steve’s supposition.

Here’s Chris’ initial response verbatim:

"Search engine optimizers are not a bunch that are easily deterred. Although I see an impact for SEO making it more crucial to be represented on shorter more popular keyword phrases, I believe strategies will emerge and SEO will adjust as it always has.

The real impact will probably be felt with in SEM. The auto complete along with instant results will compact long tail searches, keyword variations and misspelling into more generic keyword phrases. This leads to increased competition and ultimately higher CPCs for marketers.”

Chris sees us marketers actually getting knicked on the SEM side of things with higher CPCs and more than likely higher media spends. Hmmmm…a Google plot for more advertising revenue?  Double Rainbow

Click here to read very good round up of more expert POVs on the impact of Google Instant by Lee Odden. 

09.09.10