Google just unveiled its new project Google Instant. As you start typing into the search box, Google tries to predict what you are searching for (most likely using the Google Suggest algorithm), and instantly displays results for that prediction. So it’s not really displaying results as you type but kind of before you type. For now, this feature is only available to logged in Google users and is therefore also the next step of personalized search.
Although I believe that this will change the way people use Google, I don’t think that it will kill SEO (search engine optimization) or make SEO irrelevant, as Steve Rubel wrote. The search algorithm is still the same. As the results are refreshed while you type, we’ll probably see more and more people typing in order to pull results to the top that they consider most relevant, instead of typing, clicking (or hitting “enter”) and scrolling. Therefore I believe that long tail keywords will see an increase in traffic. But it also might make lower rankings less relevant. I guess that people will be less apt to scroll down and even more so go to page two of the SERP. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will affect our search behavior.
Google Instant will not make SEO irrelevant but it will most likely have a strong impact. I think it’s an exciting innovation that will make search engine optimization even more challenging, especially since no two users will see the same results.
What do you think? Will you keep it or dump it?
UPDATE (Sept. 17th, 2010): Stefan Tweraser, Deutschlandchef von Google spricht im internetworld.de-Interview auf der dmexco über Google Instant und äußert auch die Vermutung, dass durch die Neuerungen der Long Tail noch länger werden wird und dass sie wenig Einfluss auf White hat SEO haben werden.