Thoughts on Google Instant

The blogosphere is absorbing today’s announcement of Google Instant. I wanted to give some context and some thoughts.

Google’s web search (and web search infrastructure) team tries to do several things well:
– We want the most comprehensive index of the web. We explore ways to crawl the web deeper, faster, and better, from increasing our index size or indexing speed to crawling web forms to discovering links in JavaScript.
– We try to return relevant, useful results. Hundreds of people work on lots of improvements to our ranking algorithms.
– We try to return your search results really fast.
– We try to improve our search user interface (UI).

The first three things aren’t highly visible. Average users might not notice changes like Caffeine (improved indexing) or a better algorithm to detect hacked sites–although we have seen effects like users searching more when we deploy a fresher index. A bunch of people at Google have come up with amazing ways to make your search results faster. We’ve shared many of those insights to help make the web faster as a whole.

A key insight behind Google Instant is that if we want to get people answers and solve their problems faster, we can help with that by improving our UI to help you formulate queries more quickly (and then doing a bunch of hard work under the hood to answer that query too). Google typically returns search results in milliseconds, but it takes several seconds for you to type a query. In other words, the limiting factor on a typical search is you. 🙂 With predictive search and instant results, you can often get the answer you want much faster.

Here’s some additional questions, along with my personal take:
Q: Does Google Instant kill search engine optimization (SEO)?
A: 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:

Q: Will Google Instant change search engine optimization?
A: I think over time it might. The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time. For example, I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.

Ben Gomes mentioned this during the Q&A, but with Google Instant I find myself digging into a query more. Take a query like [roth ira v]. That brings up Autocomplete suggestions like [roth ira vs traditional ira], [roth ira vanguard], and [roth ira vs 401k]. Suddenly I’m able to explore those queries more just by pressing the up/down arrow key. I can get a preview of what the results will be, add or subtract words to modify my query, and hit enter at any time. The ability to explore the query space and find out new things will inevitably lead to changes for SEO. When I was in grad school, I had a professor who mentioned that peoples’ information need often change over the course of a search session. Google Instant makes that process even easier: people can dig into a topic and find out new areas to explore with very little work.

Finally, Steve Rubel’s headline on Google Instant Makes SEO Irrelevant is too big of a claim to be correct, but the point he makes is that Google Instant includes personalization, and personalization changes SEO. Well, that’s common sense in some regard (see this interview from 2007 where I make that point). But that doesn’t mean that SEO will die. I’ve said it before, but SEO is in many ways about change. The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.

Q: I don’t like Instant! I’m turning it off!
A: We provide that option right next to the search box, but I’d encourage you to spend some time with it first before you have a knee jerk reaction. Instant is a great way to learn more about things you’re not an expert on, and it can save you time. As the Google Instant page mentions, “If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.” With over a billion searches a day and over a billion users searching each week, that adds up to 350 million hours of user time saved a year. That’s 500+ human lifespans saved a year by this feature if everyone used it. 🙂

286 Responses to Thoughts on Google Instant (Leave a comment)

  1. I am loving Google Instant 🙂 It’s Fast and Saves Time 🙂

  2. I see this change improving the speed at which users are going to find acceptable results for their searches faster than they currently are. I don’t necessarily see it helping users find better results. I imagine it will definitely speed the process by which Google can learn from queries and what the true interest might be behind a shorter keyword query. I suppose if that knowledge is used to improve the searcher’s experience by somehow making it take less time getting to the ultimate destination, then it will have been a worthwhile upgrade.

  3. Matt, this seems like an interesting feature, but is it really much different than the search terms that were being suggested via the drop down box before? Also, I understand it removes the search button, but in some ways it encourages exploring because you see more screens as you type — potentially increasing the time people spend versus getting them to the place they originally intended. Sounds good for curious researchers, maybe time consuming for those who get distracted easily, like me 🙂

  4. The instant results will definitely will have an impact on how people get to their final search results. I have a feeling there maybe some distractions along the way, as results will pop up that are obviously related because of the attraction of the keyword being so prominent in the search results. The predictive text probably did this to a certain extent but actually seeing the results in real time will likely skew the click through a little.
    Overall, I really like the instant results and seeing how the results change with just the addition of one letter. It will be interesting to see how the public take to it and adapt to new search techniques when it’s released to everyone not just those of us actually logged into Google accounts 🙂

  5. So far I can’t see how exactly this would kill my SEO. If I’m optimizing for ‘dog food’, for example, then I assume that’s what people will be typing in when doing the search. If the suggestions that show up don’t include the term “dog food”, then I simply need to ‘optimize’ my page for those terms (related to dog food, but worded differently). Then my site’s performance would be about the same as it would before. If anything, I see Instant as an easier way to do ‘keyword research’ and know what to optimize for.

  6. For the Google Instant Search, it impacts on the CTR as I always measured by Google Webmaster Tools in order to determine the quality of Title, Meta description, It would be significant changes from now on after Instant Search launched, What do you think about new measurement idea to measure the quality of listing?

  7. For me it just feels too busy refreshing the page every word, but I’ll give it a while longer yet.

    I was wondering what happens with regards to CTR for AdWords users. Do impressions only count when the user has stopped typing or clicked on the search button?

  8. Why doesn’t it support Opera? Don’t you use some abstraction layer for your javascript? I doubt you code everything by hand for every browser, so I don’t understand the lack of Opera support.

  9. Matt,

    Great insight as usual. I always look forward to hearing your perspective on these types of things. Google Instant works fantastic, as someone who works in Marketing I’m excited to see how much more this will affect our searching habits. Thanks for sharing and please call in to TWIG again one of these days!

  10. Now that Google Instant search is live, can you provide more info about the meaning/significance of Google’s recent “mystery doodles”?

  11. It’ll take getting used too – just like being able to search from the address bar.

    But it certainly does save time. Not so much for me, as I have to watch the keyboard as I type, but for those who get to watch the screen …

    It’ll certainly make SEO more interesting, as the ‘top site’ changes in front of your eyes, but at least you can experiment with key words quicker!

  12. Look forward to getting Google Instant in South Africa soon..Thanks go out to the Google Search Team..

  13. Best take away from this entire post:

    “The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.”

    SEOs have to adapt. Search needs to evolve. I’m glad to see Google is continuing to push the bar. It’s about time for these kind of changes. After all, it’s 2010.

  14. I was looking for “New Jersey doctor” but when I typed “N” I saw “Netflix” first on the serp. I ended up looking for movies instead.

  15. I am debating the overall usefulness of Google Instant; the one thing most people can agree on is that Google Instant has improved Google Search’s UI.

    Google has had some UI challenges in the past; I mean with zero switching costs from Google to Bing you guys had to come up with something other than 10 blue links.

  16. Google Instant seems quite time saving. On the other hand, I found myself searching something else at first trials as the instant results may lead you to some other issue that has got a relation to your search keywords.
    For the mobile: Tried the via iPhone and Nokia. With Nokia it is useless as you can not see the search box while you type. But with iPhone it’s superb. It will be very useful for mobile users.

  17. How will this change affect Quality Score?

    is this going to kill-change the way advertisers “approach” the long tail in the long run?

  18. Matt – presently, the searcher has to be logged in to use it. Is the plan to make Instant the default/standard and, if so, can you say approximately what the timeline is? Might as well ask… 🙂

    As a user I like it. As a developer/manager, I have work to do. I don’t think it makes SEO irrelevant but I do think it places more emphasis on overall “presence” management.

  19. While I like Instant for search, as an AdWords manager I am not crazy about it. The thought of my AdWords clients receiving impressions for irrelevant search queries troubles me. I think the potential is there for some damage to be done to some advertisers accounts from this feature.

  20. Doesn’t Google Instant kill the future version of Google Instant (like the Terminator movie, right)?

    If people no longer type in queries and just click on the provided queries, then perhaps the future database of likely queries will start to get stale.

    Or maybe suggesting queries so aggressively will make people even dumber.

    Just kidding…sort of…I think it’s an interesting UI tool and an impressive show of computing force but I’m guessing web newbies might taken aback by a screen that shakes and moves so much. As for me, I like the moving screen and dancing results 🙂

  21. What would be really awesome is if Google Instant showed up inside the Google Chrome browser as I typed my query in the bar (let’s say only if I opened a new tab first so I don’t stomp a page I’m already visiting). I rarely, if ever, visit to perform a search.

    Any chances on this happening? That would be pretty sweet.

  22. Instant is a huge improvement. Been doing genealogical research today and its helped me find things much more quickly.

    Big thumbs up here.

  23. Has Rubel forgotten search suggest? Everything mentioned in his rant and in this post applies to regular search suggest as well – i.e., users are going to look at the suggestions as they type and possibly change course due to the feedback. Search suggest has changed the way I search in the exact way that Rubel fears Instant will do – and of course neither will kill SEO.

    Unrelated: Google should stop throwing out these almost-meaningless time saved metrics regarding Instant. On the whole, all of our saved milliseconds do add up to an impressive amount of time, but the 2 seconds I save on my ~50 daily Google searches is not going to affect my life in any way. I’m not going to suddenly find the time to exercise or clean the garage simply because I’m saving a few minutes a day using Google. This UI change is certainly great for users (especially since it can be turned off – I still have to use user styles to disable the homepage fade-in), but you’re touting these metrics as though our combined time saved means something, when in reality it only matters on an individual level.

  24. Great post Matt which has allayed some of my instant fears but maybe you could answer this one question I have?

    I presume the normal Google algorithms will be smart enough to spot the inevitable SEO people playing the new system to get their sites ranking for unrelated partial keyword terms e.g. sat in the UK and trying to rank for “some blue widget” but using the keywords “somerset house” to send traffic to the blue widgets page?

  25. Wow, I missed the announcement earlier and am blown away! I knew something was up regarding speed because in recent talks and posts you were stressing this as a priority of Google, but didn’t imagine this. The fun part will be the times when there are crazy ROFL results. Glad to see you haven’t put SEOs out of a job! 🙂

  26. I wasn’t keen on the concept . . . until I tried it this afternoon. I love it, and I think that once the initial confusion is over, it will actually help long tail queries. I think users will be more likely to type in the more precise query suggestions once they get the hang of the system.

  27. No knee jerk reaction here. I just had to turn it off. Maybe I’m not wired to receive data like this because it makes Google much less user friendly for me at least.

    I suspect that once you get outside of the industry pundits and the younger set there will be many people who use Google (i.e. baby boomers) who will be turned off and look for other options like, God forbid, bing.

  28. I will be a dissenting voice

    I dont like it, dont think it will ad value and will lead to a decline in your market share.

    You are now sacrificing quality versus speed.

    One of your old montras of a new search being created every second or a new query that never existed now seems to be a thing of the past.

    I would like to know if Google did testing of bounce rates for searches with this new version for both organic and ppc advertisers. It seems to me you are trying to force the results versus letting the user discover the results…I think the folks over at Bing are having a big party today as I just dont see many people outside of the blogsphere seeing this as a value.

  29. Matt, i share your opinion: the best seos recognize adapt and even flourish when changes happen.
    it will never makes seo irrelevant – but i think seo will change in further times.

  30. Hi Matt

    Whilst I haven’t had acess to a test of instant, I did have Ajax for a few days with 20 results, and some of the things I had problms with are the same as with Instant.

    The primary problem has been adding parameters.

    It is a real pain to manually construct URLs all the time with things like switching personal web search off, geolocation etc.

    The URLs are really ugly,17315,23628,23670,24923,25834,25901,26069,26087,26182,26328,26446,26512&sugexp=ldymls&tok=m7p0RIYiG9fezCUtuIVmgQ&xhr=t&q=andy+beard&cp=9&pf=p&sclient=psy&safe=off&aq=f&aqi=g4g-o1&aql=&oq=andy+bear&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=b2262dafcc168797

    I like sharing URLs like this
    Sometimes with a little extra geo code

    I really hope those won’t disappear.

    Google thing about that first option though, might get to rank for search engine and a ton of other things if people share those links with #

    I think you are being a little to kind on Steve – it really isn’t the first time he has declared things dead, and this isn’t the first time he has attacked SEO.

  31. I work in SEO and my initial reaction was that this could potentially be the final nail in the coffin of the long tail. But having played around with Instant and had some time to absord, I actually think my initial reaction was entirely wrong.

    Picking up on what Matt said in this post, of course it will potentially change how people search. But… (and a big but) that can only mean people searching for more relevant information, which could actually deliver a more “informed” group of visitors to your site – people who know more specifically what they are looking for.

    Long tail may well be impacted as people are distracted by results before finishing their query – but we’ll adapt!

    Google wants to present quick, relevant and high quality results in demand from the end user to get what they want quickly. Every major update and change will be geared towards that more and more, which reiterates the importance of a rounded Internet marketing strategy that acquires a natural following.

  32. I’m seeing results for suggested queries. I mean, I don’ want suggested results for something I didn’t typed!

    Worst, I’ll have to hit “enter” to see the results I intended to see.

    Example : I typed “credit” (in Google suggests me “credit agricole”, a bank. It’s working for the long tail, all right, but I think it would be best just to show results for “credit”, not to show in advance what I didn’t typed.

  33. AdWords publishers may not be happy about this. The ads change real-time, meaning missed opportunities on query changes.

    It will fool some in thinking their campaigns are not working due to impression spikes.

    These questions is for Matt:
    Any suggestions to help change the mindset of traditional (pre-instant) AdWords advertisers on these impression spikes?

    What happens to publisher costs that pay per impression? Are they changed less?

  34. Used Google Instant for some time, thought it sucked at the beginning but after 5 mins, I think it rocks. Recommend everyone to try it for 5-10 mins and see its true power. Great job guys, I think this will only change SEO for the BETTER, people searching more on Google and thus coming to more sites.

  35. As an avid Google user, I love the new update!

    As a web developer, Instant makes me think even more carefully about how I word my headlines for blog posts and pages. It will be even more crucial to think like how a user is going to search. Headlines will need to be “smart” in this sense in order to succeed well.

    All in all, it just makes my job more fun and interesting. 🙂

  36. Matt,

    I think this will kill the long-tail searches. I just tried to search for something starting with a “b” and distracting results from bank of america started coming up. I am not digging the user experience 🙁

  37. I like your calculations in the last paragraph. How about using a black (darker background) and save some energy as well. 😉 Cheers

  38. If it takes off, do you think ISPs will “go mental” because of increased bandwidth used?

  39. I see Instant as a great indicator of Google’s progress in development, and I suspect it shows us a hint of its capabilities in semantics. That alone, I find exciting. But beyond that, I just find it annoying. Sorry, I guess that’s the Crabby Ole Man in me showing.
    I also wonder about the impact on ad impressions. Some clarification there would really be great.

  40. Thank you for the option to turn it off. From a distraction point of view, it’s a game-killer – I find myself unable to concentrate on typing when the whole screen is flickering.

  41. I’m wondering how this is going to affect AdWords — Is it considered an impression when an ad shows up on a temporary “instant” short tail that ends up to be a completely different meaning long tail…

    Sounds like there are going to be a lot more AdWords impressions for short tail searches, which are GENERALLY more expensive per click … therefore increasing AdWords revenues for the GOOG — of course that assumes that more impressions = more clicks.

    I like it. Well done Google.

  42. If someone had “Key Insight” on their buzzword bingo, they’d sure be doing well watching today’s event.

    But you too Matt? May I suggest a new 30 day challenge: avoid corporate speak.

  43. Too bad we live in one of those regions where it’s not active yet. (The Netherlands) but we will be soon.

    Based on the vids we’ve seen, it’s impressive.

    The world of SEO will change due to this behaviour, but mostly the grey-hat SEO will change. If people will see results at the time they start typing, it COULD be important to start your SE Title with general content keywords, people COULD click your result faster. Further, i’d suspect google to be taking the location of a keyword in consideration in the SE title.. but we’ll see how it goes along in the future..

  44. I think the biggest impact this will have on SEO is the newly-gained importance of the predictive search.

    For example, if I were to search for a car, typing “vol” will give me the results for “Volvo”, including ads about how Volvos are luxury cars. This is not something which can be taken lightly by “Volkswagen”, another car manufacturer starting with the letters “Vol”.

    I wrote a little more about this topic on my blog, including a screenshot of the “vol” search, plus some thoughts on the interface. You’re welcome to come over and read it here: Google Instant – Thoughts on the Interface and What This Means for SEO.

  45. Form a user standpoint, it’s the worst change to a search engine that I’ve seen in a long time.

    It’s distracting and annoying.

    Whatever happend to just clean simple search.

    Oh, that’s what Bing provides and Google used to.

    Bing should send you a thank you card since you seem to be doing your best to drive users away from Google.

  46. Hi Matt
    Sounds like the natural progression of google and nothing more. I have noticed it started to autofill but didn’t think anything of it to be frank until this new product was officially announced.


  47. This seems like a very interesting development in the area of Google search. I recently read a patent that Apple filed in a similar area of research, but didn’t realize Google was so close to unveiling their own version of this. I like this new tool in terms of SEO, however I could see it wreaking havoc with PPC campaigns. I imagine that all the same factors that apply to a regular SEO campaign are still applicable ..

  48. Well, Steve is correct to a certain extent. Google Instant is killing SEO to a certain extent as well. Its correctly pointed out as because users may tweak their results in realtime.

    If someone searches for a “relaxing vacations in Mexico” he might end up typing “relaxing vacations” when Instant shows him a attractive result like “30% discount for relaxing vacations in guatemala”. What then???

    He might change his mind for Mexico’s neighbour instead. The SEO done for Mexico’s resorts get doomed. Sadly again, as the term was not even searched for!!! The articles posted by the SEO optimizer and read by the then to-be Mexico visitor becomes a Guatemala tourist.

    I agree that Search Engines are getting more enhanced every day. But, not all improvements lead to 100% benefits for all.

  49. At first I was looking at this with my SEO hat on and doing keyword analysis, then I started searching like a searcher. This basically takes the place of the search/find/refine pattern. It also teaches searchers when spelling, punctuation, and singular versus plural matter and don’t. Most devs/seos know there is a relationship between paid impressions and organic CTR. I wonder if this will bring paid and organic closer together or push them apart. I think it will have an impact on that relationship in some way.

  50. Thanks for the post. I found your thoughts about how Google Instant Search (GIS time for a TLA? ;)) might change nature of search interesting. Assuming GIS gets general acceptance I wonder if we might see more long tail as people dig deeper teased by some some of their initial GIS results. I guess the keyword stats will reveal this over time. Maybe this is the end of the statistical concept of long tail but the growth of the search concept? Interesting times ahead.

  51. Google Instant promises instant “magic”.

    We all know there is no “magic” to gaining and retaining targeted visitors.

    I, too, think this will assist the true infopreneur, after all, it’s all about the visitor experience.

  52. The link about how this will “kill SEO” seemed to me like the guy hardly knew what he was talking about and just wanted an attention-grabbing headline. If personalization is a problem for SEOs, it should hardly matter whether the customized results appear instantly or after a push of return. The only people I can see this possibly hurting would be rent-seekers who carefully look for “dead end” keywords to ambush people at (imagine how domain-squatting would change if every browser handled its URLs in an “instant” way!)

    I think the technology going on here is just awesome. Lots of AJAX, I assume. It’s so slick, this could well be the beginning of some sort of Web 3.0!

  53. I loved google for his simplicity and because it was user friendly and now i go with Bing that have a simple homepage and i can search what i want not what search engine want.
    Google will die because nobody will advertise on keywords suggested by google because these keywords are to costly or are inadequate for what service or product they advertise.
    Bing my love i�m coming.

  54. I’d love it if Google came out with a “google classic”.

    Drop the animations, drop the menu system and complicated backgrounds, drop the cached results. Just allow a user to enjoy the simple uncluttered interface that was the reason I originally switched to Google in the first place.

  55. It’s actually not faster than before because now I have to look through the results again every time I type in a letter.

  56. I like the change but it can be very skewed since it incorporates the personalization. For instance, when I log into my gmail account and do a search my results are more tuned to my preferences and search patterns, but when I am signed out of my account, my results are different.

    I’m not sure if I like that or not. I hate to think my search activity is being so closely monitored and interpreted so as to give me results that Google feels I should see. I am curious if anyone else is experiencing the same behavior. Webmasters will probably see even more skewed results…hint.

    Will have to play with it for a bit. The jury is still out.

  57. The idea whole idea is not that bad, but it does needs a few tweaks.

    First. Simple UI issue that can have a significant impact.
    A lot of searches end up in automatic redirection to the first search result.
    As a user I don’t want Google to take me to any other web site without me clicking on a link.
    Also this will result in more traffic directed to the top ranked website.

    Second. Refreshing after each typed letter is simply to much.
    Lets say I’m searching for “some widget”. I honestly dont want to see results like:
    1. Sears: Appliances, Tools, Electronics…
    2. Southwest Airlines | Book Flights…
    3. Soma Intimates – Women’s Intimates and Apparel…
    4. Videos for somebody to love…
    5. Some Like It Hot…
    6. Over the Rainbow…
    8. Need Some Weed? Just Check Twitter…
    9. Twitter / wolframkriesing: Quite some…

    That does brake the rule of relevant results.
    Perhaps some sort of delay would be nice. Keep suggestions in place and only refresh search results when someone stops typing.

  58. I really like the GInstant, and I believe it will be another big challange for SEO´s.

  59. I turned it off, myself, after about 30 seconds. I don’t care if I’m the “limiting factor” in search — I type fast and that’s about as far as I’m going to go in order to overcome my mammalian limitations. I will be interested to see the 1st week figures on how many people opt out of this, although I’m guessing it won’t even be in the double digits, percentage-wise.

  60. I’m just going to optimise for ‘t’

  61. Users will click on first results,will be focused to type in search box and watch 2-3 rows bellow.Long tails will be affected too.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, but old companies will get more traffic.

    I hope you will maintain an anti-monopoly policy and allow individuals or regular people to benefit from Internet,and to add value too.

    Good luck!

  62. I really see this strongly affecting long tail keyword searches(as mentioned here by several others). I see people clicking on a search result before typing in their entire query and getting much less relevant or precise results.

    Will this make your sites ‘site search’ more important? Will you be getting less targeted traffic from organic search?

    It will also be interesting to see this will affect Adwords.

    Instant Search is a great concept and I’m excited to see how it will change the world of search or if it will be gone once the Adwords income gets affected.

  63. This is an interesting gadget. But that seems what it is.

    I have a thought process Im engaged in when I submit a search. Alphabetically suggesting results interrupts that thought process – with ads. It has occurred to SOMEONE at google that all those intermediate results are actually WRONG, right?

    Fortunately I never come to the google page to search, fortunately for Google because this would probably annoy me to no end and Id start using bing devil search.

    Whats really starting to annoy me though, is the way google seems to keep throwing out new stuff that really doesnt matter to its own applause. *clap*

  64. I personally wasnt feeling much love for Google instant, I can possibly see it becomming a new way of searching and causing more things to consider while developing SEO.

  65. If I could make one more comment… All these people worried about adwords etc.

    Who decided that this was the best way to organize the web? The web may be dead, and I emphasize *may* due to this very organization. Its hard to say. But the web is pretty stale and part of the reason its stale is that it needs a search engine in the first place. If you have put a huge amount of effort into gaming the google search engine, then I guess you’ll see if that effort was warranted.

    If the web was usable at all, I dont think it would need such a device. Most of the SEO efforts are really just spam.

  66. great job G.I am really impressed by the computation power involved in getting results so fast. From my personal experience, I would think that the long-tail searches would be getting more hits now then ever before. I would say websites with more complete ‘keyword portfolios’ would start getting more hits.

  67. I find it funny how people who are would consider themselves early adopters are actually opposed to change. I like the idea of keeping search fresh, if I need the to update my SEO strategies due to a change from instant then I welcome the challenge of learning how to excel yet again.

  68. Seriously who outside of the Google Account holder bubble will see this? Obviously no one as it is only one for Google Account holders. So the feedback that Google is getting from this usually techie people and most are not liking it. I personally have not gotten used to it. I am smart searcher and I can “predict” what I want to find on my own.

    I would love to see how the world would react to this if it was on for everyone.

  69. What will the impact be for Adwords advertisers? If search results (& presumably ads) are shown for 3 seconds, that counts as an impression, right?

    So someone is very slowly and deliberately searching for “Shirt” say, they get to “Sh…” and the suggested pages represent shoe related websites and my Adwords ad for my shoe shop would appear.

    The user, though, is looking for shirts so naturally doesn’t click and an dd impression is registered with no click hurting my CTR.

    Does this make sense or am I overplaying the importance?

  70. Since I learned about it, I haven’t seen it much today on the servers I hit, but a few quick questions. I know it isn’t a spam related items, so not your Google realm – but is your blog post.

    I rarely go to and search. In Chrome, I just type in the URL/OmniBox. Will Google Instant work from there?
    In other browsers, will it work from G toolbar?

    I am sure there is an FAQ that gives answers that won’t tell me the answer to my questions. 🙂


  71. Matt,

    Wow. I am kind of shocked at the frankness of your post and insight it gives into mindset of the people that run Google. Would it really be so bad if it did “kill search engine optimization”? I am sure every one who makes there living as an SEO that posts here will disagree, but isn’t it Google’s job to make the relevant, great content at the top of the search results with out any SEO at all? When did Google change from an aid to finding cool stuff and into an enforcer of web standards that take a team of highly paid experts to conform to?

    If you must use SEO rather then great content to land at the top of the SERPs then Google fails.

  72. When I tried Google Instant earlier this afternoon, I felt motion sickness. As my test query, I started typing “minnesota vikings schedule” and of course the results changed after each word was typed. I’d probably love (or learn to love) the feature otherwise, but ugh… 🙁

  73. Right now there appears to be no sponsored links on the instant SERP. Will Google be opening a new line of inventory? Inviting advertisers to bid on “b”, “bo”, “bos”, “bost”, “bosto” as well as “boston” ?
    Trie search terms could be a new line for SEO. The more complex it all gets the more SEO will tend to become professionalised.

  74. Just played with it. Sort of a so what.

  75. For the people wondering more detailed information about Google Instant, please visit:

  76. Hi Matt,
    I loved Google Instant, but I have an interesting question in my mind, How will Google manage my search history if I am using Google Instant? Is it going to save every word/letter I am going to type, as the results are changing as I type or Is it going to save when I clicks on a particular result or press enter?


  77. This reminds me of the early days of the web when you saw title tags that seemed to move as the page loaded:
    dog f
    dog fo
    dog foo
    dog food
    Will this be the next killer SEO trick? 🙂

  78. I think Google Instant was a foxy way to keep a step ahead of social media and bookmarking sites. After playing with the new search for few times it’s obvious, pretty much all the suggestions are hype based rather than catering for a real user with a real query. Maybe I can turn the feature on on the lunch time, when I’m actually looking for something trendy to read 🙂 I guess this will be another Google Wave or Google Buzz that will go away fairly quickly.

  79. Like you say some people will search differently because of Google Instant. There are a lot of folks who type in in the Google search box and will no matter what.

    The untrained searcher might not notice anything below the search box because they have to finish typing what they’re looking for. Because that’s the way they’ve always done it.

    If you watch people search, they do all kinds of things. We’ll see over the long haul. I’m sure Google and/or Matt will provide some stats compared to before Google Instant.

    I also think folks who search on long tail will continue to do so and some of them could also change the way they search, it all depends on the individual and how they search.

    Some people like browsing through the first x pages of search results to see what’s out there.

    From an SEO standpoint I’d say you still get the first top half of the first page to appear, and if you’re going after that space, then the first top half of the results are still there to be had.

    And I still think people are going to type in long tail. Some of them will be annoyed by what’s instantly coming up below the search box and some of them will look at the search results coming up under the search box, and yet others will type in what they have to type in and not notice what’s below the search box.

    Google Instant works beautifully in Google Chrome by the way. Pretty cool.

  80. Still some question in my mind
    Will it kill the Long Tail keywords ?
    How it will effect your website traffic ? Because now people are getting more search results with each word. So you cant be sure the keywords which bring the traffic to your website will be as potent as they used to be.

    But love the two lines of post
    1. The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.
    2. The ability to explore the query space and find out new things will inevitably lead to changes for SEO.

  81. Ok, I have a couple issues with this. 1) Google is trying to promote this new feature by telling us how much time the world could save if everyone switched to it… what about the extra processing power required to query each letter and word typed… what about a greener world too. 2) I never go to to search Google. I use the built-in search bar that comes with every major browser… so how does this help me?

  82. I think its technologically superb but i suppose it is killing the individualistic search patterns and promoting more of a “herd search”. I always loved Google since I could have my own queries and search for a very specific thing that I was looking for. Now the Google keeps popping out what others are searching for .
    I think “Search becomes mundane today!!!”. In a zeal to give something jazzy and intuitive Google just removed the fun in search. Human beings always craved to experiment and got excited by the “unexpected” results. We always benefited from “Outliners” who added diversity in Human thinking. We as kids spent hours playing with kaleidoscope and got thrilled by the “controlled” no control on the colorful formations… With instant there is instant death of diversified thinking and results. Its too distracting. If I combine this with the release of “More links per domain”; then the whole page is just devoid of Diversity. I think Google should revert back the release mentioned on the blog:

  83. Its really a very great feature I searched only two keywords till now and come to know about this change.

    I think it will help those people who don’t know how to search things on Google, when they will start typing there query they will see results at the same time, in this way the keywords length would be small and they will get what they were looking for.

    In this scenario only those websites will get maximum clicks which are optimized for small keywords phrases, I think it will going to make SEO jobs bit more aggressive and more challenging because everybody will have to optimize there websites for shorter keywords phrases and thats not a simple task.

  84. Hey Matt,

    I conducted some bandwidth tests and the results are pretty increased as a function of each letter. I did a post here – and wondering how these will be extrapolated onto mobile devices ?



  85. It seems to me that Instant will increase the number of search queries based on longer, more specific queries inasmuch as suggestions for those will now accompany every generic or single term query. That would have to make the long tail even more important.

  86. Hate. Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate.

    The refreshing is horrible and nausea-inducing. I first thought a virus had grabbed my browser, and when I found out it was a “feature” I switched instantly to Bing until someone told me how to turn it off. Otherwise, I never would have been back, and I’ve been using Google since 1999 because a) I usually like it and b) I don’t change unless forced.

    I hated it so much I hunted out a Google blogger just to be able to say so.

  87. May be funny if you looking for some random searches
    but as an instrument INSTANT is an foolish act (Schildbürgerstreich)

    as long as Google doesn’t discern between auf and aus (in English at and of) – – [08/Sep/2010:22:25:27 +0200] “GET /galerien.html HTTP/1.1” 200 19645 “” “Opera/9.80 (Windows NT 5.1; U; de) Presto/2.6.30 Version/10.61” “-”

    I show photos of my lamps out of glass and agate at Light2Art.

    it would be way better to learn the people how to search effectively
    and/or make some Easy-Choose-Buttons (on your start side)
    with helpful short-cuts and categories or clustering,
    looking like a calculator, which bordering the search in a first step
    this would be make the first shown results much better than this INSTANT

    I saw the two animated .gif on your start side this week
    and remember me, that you always ignore my suggestions at first
    but making them later as your own ideas
    I think sooner or later this calculator search will also come

  88. A few points that spring to mind:

    1. Does this mean that we’re likely to see bounce rates fall? More accurate results will surely prevent annoying unnecessary ‘1 hit wonders’.

    2. I imagine that with predictive results, long tail searches are going to increase, sending users to more specific, deeper pages.

    3. It will also be interesting to see the affect it has on AdWords revenue. With ads constantly changing, will they be more eye-catching and therefore gain more clicks?

  89. Absolutely extraordinary Quantum Shift (or something like that). Awesome stuff

  90. +1 Jason Cavett . Most of the time we do end up searching google via ctrl+K on Firefox or directly typing into the address bar in Chrome. IMO, Instant will really take off only once it reaches there.

  91. Great feature, but why has Google neglected support for the Opera browser?

  92. Hi Matt

    I have posted my thoughts on why Google Instant won’t kill SEO (in fact quite the opposite IMO!) at my blog.

    What I’d really like to know, though (I wish I’d thought of this soon enough to email a question to the search event yesterday), is whether the Instant search will also be rolled out to the other Google channels like images, news and shopping?

  93. Assuming that GI becomes popular and even the new Google search trend, this will inevitably have an effect on everyone involved in some way in SEO and/or Adwords.
    For everyone putting much efforts in having their websites well listed in Google, they will now have to face competition from not only their direct competitors but also others which were never (until now) taken into consideration, since they were irrelevant (Check out the example regarding “volvo” posted above). No need to play games, and lets be honest, I would not like someone who initially is typing words where I have invested a lot to be well listed, to see instantly other variants that may provoque him/her to change his/her mind, and totally forget about the initial query.
    I am not sure if its the end of SEO as we know it now, but (as said, if popular) its most definitely a new era where SEO professionals will have to figure out new ways to work.

  94. Oh, and I also should say, I’m *really* liking Instant search 🙂

  95. Does anyone know what % of searches are done straight from (as opposed to other sites or from browser search boxes)? For instance, I do most of my searches from the search box of Safari rather than going to Google first — but that’s just me.

  96. This is a huge shift in searching.
    But it doesn’t really work for me:
    I type a phrase in – say “south wales” – when I get to the final ‘s’ it’s given me a list of results, but when I then click search it gives me a different set of results – for the same query. This is just confusing and is going to blow SEO apart.
    Secondly, I hate the screen refreshing and the prediction – since the prediction early in the completion of the phrase is no where near to what I actually want.
    I’m not a natural typist, I need to look at the keyboard occasionally to re-orientate, whilst I do this I have a constant flashing in my top vision as the screen refreshes. This is so annoying.
    I’ve turned it off.
    Please make sure that we can always turn it off otherwise I’m going to have to find something else, and I’d hate that.

  97. Is there a risk that in the chase for appearing earlier in search results SEO will evolve to be less relevant to topic and more relevant to shorter and mis-spelt phrases.

    Also since Google Instant is predicting the phrase you are looking for, will it encourage internet marketeers to target the primary phrases based on the fewest characters entered in order to get visibility DURING the search process?

  98. This is definitely going to have some pretty major effects (hopefully positive!) and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    I think that site owners who have great and unique quality content needn’t worry; if anything this might increase the *quality* of traffic received because the user can dig around more (albeit quantity of traffic will probably fall – at least until Instant is tweaked – as I’ll outline below)

    Overall, I love the idea of Google Instant. Although I’ve got to be honest and mention that I have two major concerns about Instant at this moment in time:

    ** 1) Poor quality ‘guesses’ **
    As Paul points out, the ‘guesses’ at the moment aren’t the best. In-fact I found them confusing and I’m a fairly experienced webmaster.

    As an example, say I wanted to search for the word/term “tau”. Here is the results that Google serve me (remember that whilst I type quickly, the majority of users type fairly slowly hence will see what I’m about to describe):

    * I enter “t” and Google guesses I’m looking for “Tesco” (nope!) and gives me results about Tesco.
    * I enter the “a” – so I’m at “ta” – and Google guess I’m looking for “tagged” (nope).
    * I enter the “u” – and thus finish my query.

    Or so I had thought. Google now guess that I’m looking for “taunton” and show me results about a village in Somerset, England, UK. Gah!

    Which was a little bit annoying considering that I had finished my query and yet Google were showing me results for a village in England. So I then figure to press the “Delete” key* and I see my results for “tau”.

    The results for “tau” are brilliant (;-)), although getting there was a little annoying. I seen 4 sets of results, and only 1 was relevant.

    * The reason I pressed the “Delete” key was because the search box had auto-filled “taunton” and I was seeing results for “taunton” hence I honestly thought that if I pressed “Enter” I would just get these “taunton” results. A bit confusing and not great usability. I honestly think that most users will think this way too (although instead of thinking to press the “Delete” key, surely they’ll just get confused?) Onto numero dos!

    ** 2) Bad for usability **
    I find Google Instant a little distracting. When typing, having the entire page transform and shift around you is a little weird (and whilst we might get used to it, from a usability stand-point the entire point is that users *shouldn’t* have to get used to confusing interfaces!)

    And the fact that Google guesses (usually – as above – not correctly) what you are typing and automatically shows search results for that (usually wrong) guess doesn’t help usabilty either.

    Overall, I honestly do love the idea of Google Instant. I just think that at the moment it needs a bit more work (no offence is honestly intended by that statement 🙂 ) since it seems to have bad usability and I’m not sure how the average user (one who doesn’t type quickly and one who doesn’t know what “Google Instant” is) will react.

    As I said above, usability is all about making an interface and system which is intuitively easy to use. And I unfortunately think that Google Instant fails on this front. A good UI doesn’t require training and shouldn’t confuse users (is Google sure that they’ll all know to press the “Enter” key when they are done typing their query? I didn’t know to do this – for reasons that I explained above – and I’m fairly experienced) 🙂

    An interesting product though, and I will be interested to see how it progresses (and I’m sincerely hoping Google will tweak things if necessary)

  99. I’m not sure this will really provide much use. Saving a millisecond, while it adds up over millions of users, doesn’t really provide the end user much benefit – that I can see yet.

    Besides, if your connection is spotty, as with wifi, the “instant” reloading may cause more problems and delays.

    Also interested in how this will effect SEO and personal history results.

    But like all things, I’ll have to use it a few more days before I can really say whether I think it’s a benefit or just another “wow” factor.

  100. I don’t usually greet change well … but I have to (albeit grudgingly) admit that this DOES work, and flip-it, it works well!

  101. HI Matt,

    I welcome the new changes and embrace the new challenges.

    “The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.”

    This is so true and my personal opinion on Google instant is that it will subtly force webmasters to reassess their SEO strategy and concentrate on content and improvements for the end user rather than trying to “game” the system. The only thing I am concerned about is the loss of value for long tail searches phrases that are really great relative to conversions specifically CTR relative to SEO and PPC. Another thing that I noticed was the increased importance of Google places as when you query a generic keyword like “car wrap” for our area (Los Angeles) we show up as 1 on the pack 7 and keep showing up as you further localize with the location tag . I’m happy I didn’t make shortcuts on this regard. As for Steve Rubel I suspect his claim that SEO is irrelevant is flawed but I applaud his genius in riding the wave of Google instant and bad or good publicity is still publicity. Between you and I , I feel he is playing Devil’s advocate :).

  102. Hi Matt,

    Google Instant is a good thing but…

    1) Users are focused on some queries (with easier suggestions/results) -> don’t you think it will reduce the view of “web wealth”

    2) Naturally, you look only the 2 or 3 firsts results, and if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, with Google Instant, you’ll change your query -> don’t you think that it’s can be a missed opportunity ? Without instant, you try to find your answer at least in the first page.

    3) In a SEO point of view : Users will focus only on firsts results even if the answer is #5 or #6. In terms of business, it sounds “you MUST be in the top 3” or die…

    Except these points, it’s very impresive !


  103. I think everyone has gone Google Instant crazy. I now see Adwords Ad’s bidding for stupid terms that they wouldn’t have before.

    I have to agree with some comments on here. But will this kill SEO? no. Will it change the way we optimise websites no, Quality is KING.

    All Google Instant is trying to do is making searching easier for the user and will hopefully return faster results. That’s it!

  104. As an SEOer I’m pretty excited about this and how it will change people’s behavior. For searchers in initial research mode this should let them quickly see content which might have taken several searches to get to. Think long tail will become particularly important for future SEO which is great for those sites which are committed to good content.

  105. Hi Matt,

    nice write up. i haven’t had a chance to read all the comments so sorry if i repeat anything, i have just figured out how to have a play with it. Working in the UK recruitment sector i think it will be interesting to see the effect it has on searches especially as a large number of people search on job title and location it will be interesting to see if vacancy content starts in to include more specific location based information.

    overall i like it i think it will take me a little time to get used to it and can not wait for it to come to mobile platforms.

  106. @MATT – I’d have to say so far the instant search user experience is a little confusing but an overall positive experience.

    You pointed out that it is stimulating a change in HOW I am searching. Very cool. Your congressperson point is exactly what I’ve been experiencing. Only down side is that I feel like I am getting sidetracked and being forced to view the results as they change.

    I think instant search is going to provide a lot of impressions to sites that rank for terms related to the first few key strokes. I appreciate the on/off feature.

    It’s just my opinion but it seems search engine optimization around keywords and terms may move more towards matching what users are intending to find given their first few key strokes. More of intent focused optimization.

    This may have a huge impact on conversion rates for those of us who convert on longer length terms. The instant search benefit- to help users find what they need with fewer key strokes- maybe a real game changer.

    It seems to me that expertise is going to be even more important, not less like Reve Steubels article.

    So I have to ask, Do you see a sort of repricing taking place across the industry as the instant search results change how people find the same information?

  107. Great post there Matt,
    In my opinion this will increase the use of suggested search terms, AKA long tailed keywords.

    For what I see this will actually help the less popular/known websites out there. I think it is an awesome feature Google has come up with and wondered why it took so long! Only kidding!

    Although Google Instant search for images/videos/etc would be awesome, I am sure it is already in the works!

  108. I believe it does slightly change SEO. My guess is that since it’s based off of some sort of search frequency or volume that it will effectively funnel users into more popular queries.

    As a result I’m expecting to see a slight drop in long tail queries and unique keywords used to find my site. Conversely, I would expect to see an increase in traffic for those “funneled” terms that I can manage to rank for.

    Quick SEO takeaways: Pay attention to Google suggest and target those keywords. (if you weren’t already)

    Quick gripe: When I search “car” it defaults to “careerbuilder” Are you trying to tell me I need a new job?

    Wish for future: The referer now shows “oq=” to tell me what the user typed, versus q= to tell me what google returned. Build that into analytics or webmastertools so I can see that data and examine the differences. That could be very useful

  109. Please explain to me how having to stop typing after each key and look at the results is going to save me time rather than if I just typed in my search term real fast and hit enter.

    Google is done as the go to search engine.

  110. Another thought I’ve just had:

    Does this mean that more and more sites will start to add irrelevant content in order to gain more exposure across the SERPs.

    For example, a travel website offering holidays to Turkey might start to add content about Christmas Turkey recipes and other rubbish to be seen more often as the user types, t u r k e y ???

  111. Hi Ryan,

    Yes your very right, someone thinks they should have done some background into this before commenting 😉 ha ha

    So basically take a broad search term, see what Google predicts and optimise for them. Smart!

  112. Brilliant! It is awesome and saves a lot of time. Very cool, while i was searching for labels, great pictures of Lady Gaga showed up at la..

  113. It’s true that this doesnt kill SEO. What ridiculousness that is. After all its the same results that are being yielded but in a more intuitive, automated way. Simply put, as good preempts your destination at some point, before then end of the search phrase you should get to the results you were looking for. This can speed things up a little. However, the fact that google anticipates sites from the first letter makes me think that it will be more likely that I visit some those anticipated sites a is for amazon, e is for ebay, before i get to the second letter of what i was going to search for initially. Ooh well…

  114. I’ve already left one comment earlier (is awaiting moderation), although I’d like to point out another quick flaw with Google Instant (feel free not to approve this comment, I’d understand why!)

    If you search for software, Google instantly gives user’s a VERY easy way to see ways of getting it illegally.

    For example, if you type in “adobe photoshop cs5”, Google will allow you to see results for any of the following simply by pressing the down key:

    adobe photoshop cs5 serial
    adobe photoshop cs5 keygen
    adobe photoshop cs5 torrent
    adobe photoshop cs5 serial number

    As I say, I think that Google Instant is a great product (one that I love in principle), I just think it needs tweaking due to relevancy and usability issues.

  115. @Mr Cakey – I’m with ya on wondering about CTR, especially with my PPC stuff.

    If Google instant increases the number of impressions on my Adwords ads (and potentially lowering my clicks), does that mean my quality score could drop since quality score is based on CTR?

  116. I wish there was an easy way to leave feedback about new google services like this. For example, take the priority inbox feature. My browser tab title no longer shows the number of new messages in my gmail inbox, and that would be such an easy feature to fix if I could communicate this request to the Google team, and feel like it would be heard. Is there a way to communicate with you guys about things like this?

  117. I can honestly see this changing SEO behaviour, it’s likely it’ll reduce the attraction of long tail keywords and increase the attraction of partially completed keywords and phrases.

  118. Another vote with the dissenters here.

    My main concern is with the corruption of keyword popularity statistics. The number of “searches” for any particular keyword will henceforth be corrupted to an unknown and unknowable degree by Google’s “guidance” of the search query. Did the user enter that keyword because it was what he really wanted to know, or because it was what Google wanted him to know?

    Of course, this issue has been around for a while thanks to search suggestions, but they were not terribly intrusive and could easily be ignored by many searchers. But Google Instant is as “in your face” as it gets and will inevitably steer users in all kinds of directions that were not originally in their minds.

    Whichever keywords happened to be the most popular (or the most favored by Google, which might not necessarily be the same thing) now gain an unfair “free advertising” advantage by being presented to searchers whether they wanted them or not. Of course it can be argued that if the user does not find what he actually wants after clicking on the suggested results, he will refine his search. But an enormous number of people will not. The flock can easily be herded by this new sheep dog.

    So who is in charge of the search process? The searcher or Big G? There is something frighteningly Orwellian about this development and I am astonished that most of the posters here miss this in their excitement over technical progress.

    Google Instant is OFF in my browser and staying that way. I can think for myself, thank you. If I need further assistance, I will use the wonder wheel when I want to.

  119. I have mixed feelings about Google Instant.

    It is shiny, powerful, so much web 2.0 😉

    But Google is changing the game for many users and strengthening its position. Now, it not only controls the search results, it also controls the search queries. You type a single letter and Google already slips thoughts into your mind! That is a tremendous amount of power and also responsibility.

    I predict a new kind of spam will appear – “Suggestion Box Spam”. People will try to fool the Google algorithm to show the long-tail terms they like and thus steering the traffic to their site. Stop fighting for SERPs, start fighting for term popularity. I am afraid, black hatters with their numerous sites and automated content are perfectly prepared for this. And detecting it might get tricky.

    I sound like a doomsayer. Spooky.

  120. Hello Matt,

    I like Google Instant. Everyone who searching my name is now seeing pictures of Mischa Barton before approaching the results. I`m sure this will have a positive effect for me 🙂

  121. Does anyone know of any worldwide statistics on what portion of Google Search traffic comes from the Google toolbar vs. direct entry at That would be interesting to know in considering the impact of this feature.

  122. Great technology, no doubt. But is it technology for technology’s sake? Does it really improve the user experience. My first impression is that it does not, except perhaps for those with limited attention span. Great fodder for those Bing commercials – Google Buzz Deux?

  123. Something I think we wil have to keep in mind is that Google Instant has the potential to seriously alter the way long tail keywords are searched and which long tail keywords are valuable.

    The reason that I say this is if Google populates a keyword that is similar enough to the searcher, they will most likely go with it. The long tail will still exist but it will depend more heavily upon the word that Google suggests next. So what I see here is SEOs (myself included) doing tons of research on what keywords Google is suggesting and pushing our clients to use those keywords. So this will lead to an increased competition for long tail keywords.

    Am I wrong?

  124. Matt, something that I haven’t read much about is how referral URL tracking would work for traffic coming from Google Instant. It looks like the parameters in Google Instant URLs are all behind the hash tag, so those params won’t be passed by the browser to the destination websites. Does that mean website owners won’t be able to track the referring keywords from Google Instant?

  125. How will this affect mobile advertisements?

  126. I recently did an SEO plan for a company that is in B2B world of adult products and sex toys so I wanted to go to google to check out if this would effect what I did for them or not. I find it pretty interesting that google doesn’t show suggestions for questionable words. It asks you to hit enter to search. If people are used to the suggest functionality then come across a situation like this, I wonder how they will respond or react to the blank white screen that says hit enter to search. There is also a delay and the words “hit enter to search”, they don’t show up right away, so if I am using the suggest functionality and I am looking for a term and all of the sudden I see a blank white screen, I’m going to backspace to where I had results… I know, I did it a bunch of times before I realized what was happening.

    I think people will keep going back and forth until they get what they want on the first page. Making page 2… less relevant and page 1 more valuable. I also don’t know how this is going to effect the program I just rolled out.

  127. I love it! But I can’t get it to permanently show 100 results, it works for one search and than it goes back to 10….

  128. Heloo Matts

    what you think about if user type a complex sentence like ” movie and food in Delhi” how to display the proper result for both “movie and food” in same window ……. i think now its possible same as google instant …. what you think about this

  129. This is a bit off topic, but probably also the best location to get the answer:

    Is google charging for cost-per-impression ads during the google instant search changes?
    Ads appear as the google instant search changes… is Google charging for CPI ads that appear for a brief instant during the google instant search?

  130. With all the above being said I love Google Instant. It’s one of the new features that Google has added that I think will have a tremendous benefit for SEO in the future. While I realize it’s not a direct influence on SEO itself, I think that it may influence new technologies that will arise as a result of the advent of Google Instant. I, for one, will not be turning off Google Instant. Too much good stuff to learn about. 🙂

  131. Some people just don’t get it. I have followed Google for my whole online career and among all the search engines Google continues to focus on one thing for a singular reason: fast search for users like me and the whole world! Why some people would want to make it seem more than that is beyond me (though I have my theories). People look at Google as a threat to their privacy, all because they may have something to hide? As Google CEo Eric Schmidt advices If you don’t want anyone to know what you are doing then you should stop what you are doing. In y book Google rocks!

  132. Caryn Wesner-Early

    As a researcher, I have my preferences set for 100 results per page. Now that Instant is running, my results are cut down to 10. I re-checked my preferences, and the setting is still 100, so it must be Instant that’s doing it. Please bring back the rest of the results, so I can just scroll and not keep having to look on the next page!

  133. I’m sure Google will use all the live data now to significantly improve the accuracy of their predictive logic – loading more suggestions later in the phrase, then earlier (which is annoying right now). In that case, most issues people have with the bad suggestions go away. As for the long tail argument, I’m on the fence. Instant has the potential to encourage people to narrow down to an optimal phrase that gets them the page/results they want. That’s most likely a longtail phrase, than a single top keyword. In some cases, yes, some people’s investments in longtail keywords will end up wasted…. but in most others I’d suspect, those phrases will only increase in conversions – as Google actually assists users in finding that longtail phrase. The key though is whether Google focuses on assisting and directing users to the most relevant phrases, rather than just a knee-jerk front-loading of lots of junk that just happens to be at the top of their index for each letter. If that’s the goal, the end result should be great for end users, and anyone in SEM as well.

  134. Google Instant leads searchers to the long-tail search where they will find the exact information they seek. As users became more adept at search, they soon gravitated to the long-tail because it cut through the noise and found what they wanted. Now Google Instant makes it faster for the people to find what they want.

    Once again, Google’s search logic is ingenious!

  135. Althought I like the potential of it, there still seems to be a lot of work to be done. First I think it gives too much power to the big sites that rank for the really tough terms. It is really probably going to drive people away from the long tail keywords. Second, I just did a search for one of my main terms, Kolea. Although Kolea relates to birds and music, the majority of the searches on the web related to it are for a vacation rental community called kolea. If you search Kolea nothing related to the vacation rental community comes up on google instant until you hit enter. If you dig further, and start to type “kolea re” for “kolea rentals” you get sites associated with kolea real estate, which there are minimal searches for rather than vacation rentals, which there are a lot of searches for.

    Just my input. I am sure over time these quirks will get worked out.

  136. How does this affect mobile? I’ve tried 3 different phones in the last day or so, and none of them can use google instant.

    Also, im glad that porn-y type kw’s/phrases are being left out, beacause THAT would have been MESSY!

  137. I can see how this could be of concern to plenty of SEOs, but I think you’re right – it’s a change that will need to happen to keep SEO working. But as long as you pay attention to how people adjust to the real-time results, making relevant adjustments to SEO approaches should keep everything going.

    Since the results appear to default for showing for the predicted text first, perhaps SEOs will have to further investigate how to increase listings inside of predictive text to ensure there results will show there and not just in a specific search. I anticipate several searchers will stop using the “search” button and just use results that have come up through Google Instant. This will be one of the bigger ways SEO is probably going to be affected.

    At any rate, I’ll be paying attention. The initial response appears to be a positive one (from the decreasing-in-patience general public), so it looks like this is a step forward for Google. SEOs are going to need to get used to the differences.

  138. This feature is another nail in the coffin… for my use of Google. I don’t want to have to be signed-in to save search preferences; my search, my business. The only way I’ll even want to use Google anymore is if they had a URL such as where all you get is the logo, the box, no fade-in, and no Instant nonsense. All these fancy tricks for the sake of fancy tricks are about as aesthetically pleasing as embedded MIDI and scrolling, blinking text were in the 90s.

    Some of us use Google for speed. Instant DOES NOT improve my speed. It is too distracting to have the page change every half-second and it is at best only infrequently useful for me. Not all of us have ADHD, Google.

  139. Google instant slowed my web searches down! The instant suggestions had very little relation (if any) to the topics I was researching. The constant flashing as the pages were refreshing was distracting and annoying. I know what I want to search for, have no problem with advanced search queries nor with spelling. I found the instant results constantly interfering with my work.

    The millliseconds supposedly saved by other people in this predictive result were absolutely not being saved here.

    Not pleased; certainly not impressed. No thanks — I prefer to think for myself.

  140. Instant will have changes on the quality of SEO statistics, since only users with a Google account that are signed in are served with it. Even if many people have a Google account they are in a minority. As a consequence SEO reporting should consider two populations: (a) “Always signed in Google users” and (b) “non Google users”, with (a) being more professional users und (b) all others.

  141. I think Google Instant will change the way SEO is being practiced but definitely not killing it. Since the search result will now be searched instantly, it seems that the page one of the SERPS has become much more powerful, as people will instantly click on the first result. And this will force sites that are currently on the second and so forth pages to rethink their strategy in order to be on the first page. Seems like Google instant will make every site to compete more fiercely. And since time is money, people will start compromising the way they did their SEO in the past. More will think about black hat SEO, and I will not surprise how many new black techniques will arise.

    But overall, Google instant really increases the user experience and that what matters.

  142. Hi Mat,

    I feel Google Instant (GI) will kill the “long tail”, make SEO less effective and cause an oligopoly. I justify this because GI pushes long tail traffic to established vertical keyword searches. This increases the search volume of these keywords and over time will increase the bid for PPC.

    SEO will be less effective because a few major players will dominate fewer natural results (now that the traffic in the long tail is no longer there). These players, if smart, will reinvest their profits in PPC and dominate further causing an oligopoly.

    In conclusion I think PPC bids will increase in vertical sectors and profits wil increase for Google. Saying that I like the speedy results!

    Humbug =)

  143. Let’s put our trust in Google that SEO will not die. They are consistent as possible, even pulling promises out from last year that still remain the same. I think it’s safe to say to continue your SEO as usual.

  144. It was definitely something disturbing and uncomfortable at first look and first hand. But a handy and quick UI for the user to save time. No doubt, SEOs would need to adapt themselves to users’ “quick choice”, not directly to Google Instant. Longtail keywords will have a serious impact but probably, it’s making SEO more challenging. The freshest news stuff and running latest content in probably javascript is definitely a lovable feature I see.


    1.WOW.. super fast, without doubt it is Mind blowing… well done Google.

    2. It guiding me to explore more relevant / recent / topics or phrases for my search. I think it is also using your search history for the suggestions ( correct me if I’m wrong)

    3. My DAD ( age 67 – non teche guy..) liked it, the point is he thinks it’s kind of cool and useful. His first reaction is all smiles with full of surprises… he is like..” How google know what he wants? ” – valid question from his side 🙂 .. So I think In a way Google already achieved their goal on serving results based on users thinking rather than typing.

    4. As a SEO/Webmaster I like this because its in some way demanding/sending a message to all webmasters/developers to rethink what they can do with search for their own site. It is kind of redefining the whole User experience.

    1. Its kind of annoying me the QUICK changes in the SERP, something like a FLASH / GIF ads. ( personal opinion)

    Finally I love this “The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.”

    Happy instant Googling!

  146. Hi, My concern is that Google Instant will do away with local vernacular, replacing our language with an ‘acceptable’ Google speak. I also feel that the constant changing of the proposed results feels very over complex and detracts from the one thing that Google is respected for – Search Simplicity. Best of luck with it, but I’m opting out 🙂

  147. Matt,
    I do not like this Google instant. As I’m searching and typing a word its starting to bring up different results from words that I haven’t finished typing yet. This then slows down my typing as its all jittery and doesn’t type as well. So I then end up typing the incorrect word and get a completely different search result. I like a lot of what Google do with pushing forward in search engine technology, but sometimes the old saying is “if its not broke then don’t fix it”. I was very pleased to note that you can alternate back to the normal way of searching on the right hand side.


  148. I tried Google instant with the search for SEO and all I saw was it updating tweet after tweet. Personally I have no use for Twitter as there is no substance in the information provided in 145 characters. I would have easily chosen a top ten result over an instant result. If the instant results are simply just all tweets or social media updates I think everyone will have this same reaction.

    Funny enough the top update was how Google instant would kill SEO ..had to laugh at that one.

  149. Rather than these small tweaks to presentation, I would like to see Google develop into a instantly updated newspaper. I envisage a newspaper style page that draws it’s elements from a range of articles, social networks, video broadcasts and even incorporating user uploads etc. This could render old style news completely obsolete ! Google would offer you dynamic news minutes after the events happen and not provide you with a resume of what occured yesterday. I can see all of the elements available on Google now, it just needs pulling together and presenting in a more accessible format.

  150. In the near term, I do not see where this will affect the average searcher. I think they will continue to enter their query and wait for results because most people focus on what they are looking for when doing a search. Perhaps over time, they will stop entering text and look down the page for the results as they appear and continue typing if needed. I do wonder what affect this will have on site owners when they analyze Impressions, CTR, Conversions, etc. We will likely have to re-evaluate how we look at our metrics.

  151. I’m not sure I like Google Instant at this point. I understand it’s fairly new but I’m not sure I like where it’s going with Google trying to guide someones search. As Google Instant can alter and change search behavior, I think that’s a NEGATIVE as the basic human motion to need to find something and think of the most relevant keyword is what search has always been about and then be guided by the web with the help of other sites.

    Google came up with keyword suggestions as you’re typing you’re query and that was fine. This now alters it that much more. If I type G, why does Google think I want to search anything to do with Google as thats the query that comes up when I start with G.

    I don’t see the impact in SEO (the algo) because there is nothing that shows Google Instant is changing anything in the algorithm, just may change search behavior.

  152. So far, I like it as a user and a manager!

  153. Whilst SEO will obviously survive, even thrive, SEO strategy will surely need to change? I can’t help thinking Google Instant will impact the long tail of search quite markedly, the only unknown being by how much. My own thinking is that head terms will become even more more important, and the long tail will reduce (in volume if not in the actual breadth of terms used). Whether that is a good or a bad thing, for organic traffic or PPC, will emerge in time.

    For example, say a user is looking for novelty gifts for men. They start typing ‘novelty gifts for men’, and by the time they have typed in novelt (sic) the search drop down shows an option for the head term novelty gifts.

    The impact on the novelty gifts long tail then depends upon how many people click on that initial, broader listing, with the intention of exploring the SERPs and possibly refining their search once they visit a website ranked for novelty gifts.

    If that happens often enough, the novelty gifts long tail (for men, for women, for girls, for boys, etc etc) shrinks and Google will start to report higher popularity for the ‘novelty gifts’ head term.

    If head terms become more prevalent in this way, the long tail will surely reduce? The top SERPs for head terms will then become even more important and competitive (especially with the first organic listings getting pushed further down the page), and ranking for head terms will become critical to some businesses currently sustained by their long tail traffic.

    One concern I’ve got is that this could encourage keyword stuffing in the landing page meta information, so that when the result for novelty gifts is displayed, as many as possible of the alternative user intents (for men, for women, for boys, for girls, for the love of god!, etc) are supported – and click through encouraged – by the displayed meta title and description.

    However, this in turn will create keyword cannibalisation issues, as you would still want your Novelty Gifts For Men page to appear in the SERPs when someone does enter the full search term ‘novelty gifts for men’.

    I’m trying to avoid knee-jerk negativity, but I am a little worried about the broad impact of Instant on the long tail (which I believe, properly optimised, results in a significantly improved search experience, at least pre-Instant) and on PPC, where we may see ourselves competing more for the head terms in order to sustain traffic, with the resultant competition only pushing up bid costs.

    SEO isn’t dead following Instant, of course not, but this is going to be interesting, even challenging, to watch and work with.

  154. Sorry, Matt. I have already turned it off. The Instant interface is like a strobe light constantly beating in my eyes.

  155. I think Google Instant will end up normalizing keywords over time a bit. Since it combines suggestive search phrases with instant results, searchers are likely to click on a suggested search or straight into a search results page prior to typing their full phrase. And they might even type 2 or 3 word phrases more often now since Google will do a good job at suggesting the actual searches they were looking for.

    This makes it easier for the searcher to enter the proper keyword they wanted to search with, and brings them optimal search results pages quicker.

    It’s a win win in my book.

  156. Here’s something interesting…type in “i hate” or start typing “i hat” into google instant, it goes blank!

  157. Well, this screwed us pretty bad! What is absolutely ridiculous about this, and the result of lack of foresight and planning/testing is the following scenario…

    I am searching for a query of something… “This query here”. Which actually is a recognized “popular” query in Google’s eyes b/c it shows up at the BOTTOM of the suggested list.

    Now, once I type in this query, Google, in their oh so damn genius algo, thinks I want something like “This query here whatever”. And, the results of what I actually type are different from the results of what I see on the page!!

    98% of users aren’t going to have a damn clue that if they press enter, they will get the results for which they search, so instead, they are presented with suggested results and not what they actually requested. This is a FAIL like no other!

    If you want to do this, and I don’t think that Instant is a bad idea, except for another reason I will present, then you need to show the results of the query that is input if it’s actually a known query! Don’t show me some crap you think I want b/c it has more searched queries in your database trying to determine what I want for me. It’d be ok to show that as the next up suggestion, but don’t show me in the list this suggestion!

    * I do understand why this is done though, b/c by showing the most popular queries as the results, you create more competition for main keywords, and directing all traffic to these keywords. This in turn generates more competition for the adwords that drives in more CPC revenue for Google. Good work, I didn’t catch that one…

    Oh, and also, if you dont’ have a 1600×1200 res display, you are probably not going to see anything but ads in your results with the dropdown in place. Most people aren’t going to submit the query, but leave it half complete if they have the results. Again, another “do no evil” move!

    Honestly considering moving to Bing after this one… unless someone with a vision outside of screwing their clients wants to re-evaluate and make some key changes.

  158. Hi matt,
    I think Google Instant will change the way SEO is doing,
    myself has change the way to do search in google, some times google results are better than words I think to search.
    I think that Google instant was a better change in google search.

  159. I’m going back and forth on how I feel about this new tool. I’ve read some articles that are excited about it and others that are hesitant of the new feature. One by Liberty Interactive Marketing in Phoenix was really good because they brought up that things that are “instant” per say are not always good. I had some troubles with the tool myself yesterday that made me not want to use it, but seems like a lot of you think it’s great so I don’t know what to think yet. I’m just glad there is an option to use the off button!

  160. I don’t see what the big hype is about this killing SEO…

    Check your analytics account people, SEO is all about the long tail keywords! The stuff you can’t predict, but the searchers you attract by simply writing about your topic.

    Google instant is great news, should spread the traffic much more evenly and let newer sites that are typically further down the ranks get some visibility based on the specificity of their content.

    The fact that so few people venture beyond page 1 is disturbing. Yea, Google is good, but lets face it, you need to use your brain to find out what it is you’re really searching for, not just expect the G-bots can read your mind… though now I guess they kind of can 🙂

  161. I do not think that this will ‘kill’ SEO at all, it may affect optimisation for smaller companies going primarily for long tailed keywords. SEO like Google is constantly evolving both in terms of reacting to the way in which people use search engines (and social media) and in the way in which people access information.

  162. Nope I’m cynical. After playing with it it for a few days it actually seems slower. If you click on the next result pages they are loading real slow now.

  163. So far, I am not a fan of this change. I do wonder if Google will add into adwords a separate way to target those with their Google Instant on versus those that have opted to turn it off. I think that you would adjust your campaign differently for each so this should be an option if this change sticks around (I’m still hoping it doesn’t)

  164. Wish we could try it so as to have a better idea of what would happen to our adwords campaigns but our country is currently out of scope. No idea yet about how regionality is handled with Google Instant. Regardless, it does seem like progress, as usual will work out for those who adapt and leave behind those that don’t.

  165. Google Instant is a really cool change that is going to benefit users and advertisers and Google alike. Some people just don’t seem to realise it yet. If you think about it though, not a lot of things are going to change. If you’re a marketer you’ll need to understand what is happening, take the changes onboard and react from there. But how will this affect SEO and online marketing in general? Well, it won’t. You’ll still need to create wonderful content, you’ll need to be offering something of value to people, you’ll need to optimise your pages for the right keywords etc. So in essence, what this means is you’ll need to be doing exactly what you did before to succeed which is adapting and evolving with the fast moving field that is digital/online marketing. But hey, this is why we love this field right?

  166. Hi Matt
    Personally I don’t see Instant as killing anything least of all SEO, the only thing it will kill it seems is those extra 6 seconds or so that you will save when searching the web on Google.
    From a usability point of view I’m not entirely convinced though; at the moment it seems to me to be one of those function changes that looks good in theory but when in practice just seems a bit clunky and dare i say overly engineered. The constant refresh is a little distracting as you do a normal search.
    But I imagine in time it will become second nature to use and will be another part of the internet furniture.

  167. I think Google needs to use focus groups that are not tech heads inside the plex. Maybe if they did that, they wouldn’t have so many bombs like Wave, Buzz and now Instant search.

    And Google needs to quit coping things people already did since Yahoo and Bing both worked on instant search years ago and didn’t develop further because they use average people in those groups and they all hated it.

    If all google wants is for nerds and techs to used google, they are slowly getting their wish. The problem with that path is there are more average people using the Internet than nerds and once they all leave google for bing or yahoo, google is going to be crying.

    You all in the plex are bright people but it also is going to be your downfall because you don’t think like the average person who uses the Internet and you seem to think the average person needs to start thinking like google and that is not going to happen.

    There is great article from an ex Googler who pretty much says it all:

    Great job on a major flop once again.

  168. I find it very distracting when I start to type a phrase and words I was not planning to type pop up. I guess it will just take some time to get used to. I will try not to be one of those “knee jerk” people who just turn it off 🙂

  169. Great improvement that Google have the guts and the power to put into their main search (not like Yahoo and Bing similar implementations years ago). This show that even after these years, Google is willing to take a big step to have the opportunity to improve users life.

  170. Hi Matt ,

    My personal opinion about Google instant is, results(changing as we type) are sort of annoying to users. Why would user will look into results as every single letter he/she types, so why Google are displaying the results that way. Its just a question sir and I would appreciate if you could explain.

    Take an example:
    If you go to the Ice cream parlor and you say “Mango and suddenly before you finish your request(key-phrase) , the parlor guy asks you mango with cashew nut, mango with strawberry toppings on them, etc. You wont mind as long as these are the suggestions from parlor guy but what if that guy is literally showing you all mango related stuff , don’t you think anybody would go nuts.

    Now consider Google in place of the parlor guy. Here we get results(when I type Mango) like Mango recipe, Mango fruits, Mango language, etc… Not just suggestions but results as well,( which is definitely annoying). I think there are few chances that end user would come out bit unsatisfied.

    Now take the worst case, if I start searching with phrase starting from Buy keywords, I get so many irrelevant results (One wont mind as long as these are suggestions but showing in the results, does that make negative impression on end user) . Now I would not dare to say I wanna buy in parlor cos just imagine how irrelevant stuff parlor guy will show to me.

    This is just my personal opinion sir. I may be wrong. But I would appreciate if you could elaborate why Google instant is better than the old method.

    (Sorry for long comment)


  171. I love Google Instant. Google has created a feature that provides the end user with better service. I currently use Adwords, Analytics, and Gmail everyday, and the last thing I want is Google to become irrelevant. In the technology world, so many companies come and go and as long as Google is always reinventing itself for the better to help their customers, then we all win. And if Google can change, so can SEOs and Webmasters.

  172. I am not convinced that Google asked users what they wanted. They fact that you are giving options as opposed to what the person is asking for will increase browse time as oppose to reduce it. I have a few ideas that Google could use that people who browse would want. This however is not one of them.
    I think Google has just given Bing more ammunition about confusing results.

  173. Cool, great idea, and works well. It is not setup for localised results yet though is it? Didn’t see it working on the .au. Will be interesting to see how it catches on, and how it feels to use once I have tried it out a bit more.

  174. What I am wondering is if SEO’s are going to start targeting keywords(phrases) that are at the top of the auto complete list now. for example typing in just the letters “fr” gives me “free movies online, free games, frostwire, and free ringtones”. I am sure most of these are already competitive and have a feeling the adwords cost of each will rise, now you have 2 lists to be at the top of. So someone who was targeting “free shooting games” might find their longer phrase even less valuable than before. anyone else have a thought on this?

  175. Twice now I have had a message appear saying that I dont have enough cpu to run Google instant, this happened when I had music streaming and other browsers open, but if Google is trying to make the web quicker (like it’s their ‘own’ web), then surely this is the opposite of what they should be doing.

    I have spent a lot of time on pagespeed and the performance of my sites, then Google goes and throws a shed-load of code at one page reduces their own page speed.

  176. Matt, how does Google decide which suggestions to make? Some of our employees get different suggestions. We tried it in different browsers, cleared cookies and cache, logged into google, logged out, etc. We even tried different geo-locations.

    Also, I notice it now breaks adwords results up into categories. If you are the first listed in that category, for a “related to” result, does that mean you were ranked #1 for that kw for that search? Are you paying #1 placement for that click if someone clicks it?

  177. Google Instant kills SEO for those who are optimizing for a keyword+location. e.g. Locksmith Phoenix. Before someone has the chance to type in the location, google has already displayed it’s geolocated search results. The user will never get to see the sites that are ranked for “Locksmith Phoenix”.

    Locksmiths get no love from google, so I’m sure there won’t be too many tears shed if they start getting hosed by Google Instant, but it’s just one example of how optimizing for certain keyword phrases will become obsolete; and for some it could be crippling to their business.

  178. I’m loving the new instant search feature. I do find it fascinating to find the suggestions that are given and it has caused me to dig deeper. I’m wondering how the average users are enjoying it. Are a lot of people turning it off in their features?

  179. Google is constantly changing SEO by changing how SEO works (or doesn’t work). But why they still allow manipulated links to be considered makes no sense to me.

    SEO will go away when gOptimization is released. This is where Google puts code on your site or gets access and can optmize your site based on the content they find there. You just add content and leave the title and meta tags blank and gOptimization does the rest for you!

    I don’t like gInstant, it’s annoying and a waste of bandwidth. Let me know when it is out of beta and I will try it again…

  180. I see a lot of people saying that this will reduce the use of long tailed keywords. I can see how people will stop typing as soon as they see a result they like. The opposite might also be true. Before, you would type in a kw and press enter. If you didn’t see any results you liked, you started again. Now you just might keep typing until you get specific enough to get the results you want.

    As a user I like it, except that it doesn’t leave much space for natural results.

  181. I didn’t like Google Instant at first. The constant updates made it seem like I had to rush to click a result before they changed. Now, I’m sold. I was using normal Google last night due to a slow Internet connection and I was wondering why Google seemed so slow.

  182. Matt, Google CANNOT afford to rely on Webmasters to perform SEO on site pages. While SEO will likely still exist in 5 years, it will do the same as it does now, NOTHING!

    SEO = Myth

  183. Hi Matt,
    Instant search sounds looks good and it saves time for me, but i got a fell that this feature will affect the adwords keyword suggestion tool.
    I think one of the source for keyword suggestion tool is google search queries, where each and every search query is being counted and given out as a result in the tool. With the instant search most of the time i get results with out completing the exact query in the search box, see the below case

    I wanted to buy a digital camera online, so i started searching “digital cameras online shopping” but before i complete the full search query i get a result having for the keyword “digital cameras on”. So i clicked the website and found a product and shopped from there and came out of google. If this is the case
    1. Which keyword is taken into count for the keyword suggestion tool?
    2. What kind of data will i get from the analytics/adwords campaign?
    3. What will happen for the actual search query (digital cameras online shopping)?
    4. What will happen for the website optimized for the keyword (digital cameras online shopping)?
    5. What kind of suggestions can be given for the website targeted with this keyword (digital cameras online shopping)?
    6. If the websites targeted with the keyword has to re-optimize then what keywords can be used and where the keywords can be taken? (keyword suggestion tool will not give the best suggestion for the keywords after some time because of this instant search)
    7. If the search result arrives before the actual search query is being typed then the website owners will not be able to come to a conclusion on which keywords to be used?
    8. As we all know that keyword is the most important factor for SEO and if we are not able to decide which keywords to be used then what will happen for the remaining factors in SEO?

    So i say that this might make major drawback for SEO as well the SEM in google.

  184. What I experience the Instant is a reward for typing more. As I start typing “shoes” and see a bunch of women’s shoes results, I change my query to look for “men’s shoes” and then I realize that I am really looking for “men’s shoes brown”…Instant rewards the long tail. It makes the MayDay update make perfect sense. Google improved the quality of the long-tail through MayDay and then rewards users with better presentation of results so that they continure to type…long tail queries.
    I think Instant is a game changer, and it will effect SEO…but it will get them to focus on the overall quality of the site and depth of content rather than cramming relevancy into the home page.

  185. I agree that Google Instant could have the power to change the way people search over-time, but that’s assuming this way of search catches on and/or whether the ‘turn-off’ facility remains in place. Perhaps after so many years of ‘type and hit enter’ searching, Google is trying to push for too much too soon from its users.

    The Autocomplete was a good intermediary step – I’m just not certain that Google Instant is the next instinctive move I want to make when searching – perhaps I just haven’t got used to it yet (which is of course what Matt is highlighting when he talks of ‘knee jerk reaction’).

    Only time will tell, but either way, this shouldn’t distract from the fact that Google Instant is a mightily impressive technological development in the world of search!

  186. I’m really not sure why everyone is freaking out about the changes that Google Instant may bring. It is simply an extension of Google Suggest that has been active for quite some time now. Even with Google Instant users may not find the information they were looking for resulting in additional queries possibly evening “long-tail”.

    Three years ago there was a lot of buzz about the “death of SEO” and how it was coming soon. That is the myth. SEO is a very real thing if you truly understand what it means. It is website optimization…not magic tricks that help you rank higher instantly. In short SEO helps your site build a solid relationship with Google and other engines.

    Relax…It’s not 2010 yet…

  187. “…it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time” – good point and choice of words (“over time”). At this time most of the non-geeky people I’ve spoken with (not too many, primarily friends and family) don’t look at the instant results (deeming them to be “intermediate” and possibly irrelevant), but want to type in their full key-phrase first. Google may eventually change the way they look at those “intermediate” results though, teaching people to “search differently”…

  188. Hi Matt,

    My previous comment is not approved probably because I put a lot of links in it. Please take a look at it for your information. Thank you very much.


  189. I agree with you that it’s no need to be a SEO expert. Just focus on delivering good contents to web visitors but the problem is how we can get our sites ranked higher than sites using blackhat SEO techniques that I’ve mentioned above(in a comment suspended). Maybe we need to do 2 things in parallel that are minimizing spam sites and getting original content sites ranked higher(than spammers’ sites.) Not sure if Google instand is able to handle this properly.

  190. Only geeks like it and not even all geeks like it. I’m a geek and I hate it.

    I’m sick and tired of google trying to tell me what I’m looking for instead of just letting me find it. I have the attention span of a cat and now you throw google instant into the mix, if I atually used google anymore, I’d have to turn it off since I would never accomplish anying since I would be destracted on things I was not looking for.

    Did the developers of Buzz and Wave get together on this?

  191. Slightly off subject but I think Google Instant will have a greater impact to paid listings than organic. Although Google have tackled the issue of increased impressions by an action or time delay rule (i.e. 3 seconds of no action and it counts as an impression), I think we may see in some cases a drop in quality of traffic. For instance if somebody starts to search for a job in say in the plumbing industry and they are based in london. Then they may start by searching “london plumbing job” however results will appear relevant once they have only searched part of that phrase and they may click. Although that advertiser user a negative for job, as the term has not yet been used they may end up with a click.

    I am sure the argument against this would be that the suggestion tool should help avoid this, however you only need to look at the misspellings that people use to realise a lot of searchers are well a bit stupid, or lazy or…

    Anyway my apologies for being slightly off subject, but I felt it was relevant.

  192. I have noticed that the Google Instant searching tends to bring up less relevant searches when going through the process.

    For example, when I want to search for IT Support NYC, when I start typing “IT” I see iTunes as the first result. Then as I put a space, I see IT Crowd.

    The search suggestions also aren’t relevant to the search until I get 2 keywords in. Is this something you have plans to try and improve?

  193. On the first day, i was really surprised to see results while typing words, the logic was only in google keyword or phrese terms and now whole search results was dynamically changing. I was researching on software outsourcing keyword. when i type software it got all data related to software but as i typed software outs, i got results “Software Outsourcing”. Really it saves time and effort but as a SEO, now its tough to target long keywords, small keyword would get more impressions etc.

  194. If anything Google just gave SEO / SEM a HUGE boost because of it. You pretty much have to be on the first page to even get results from organic search now. More and more companies will hire SEO Specialist because of it.

    With that said….

    Once again Google inadvertently just flicked off anyone who isn’t able to reach the first page yet. “Sorry insignificant smaller sites, go to Bing if you want to be found…” Not to be blunt or mean about it, but that is just how it is. I would not bother scrolling down if I can simply find what I need instantly.

    I clearly have mixed feelings towards it, but just my 2 cents.

  195. It took me a week to get used to Google instant (at first I didn’t like it either). SEO will always be relevant. You can now optimize for part of a word, or a shorter word, or a fleeting thought … in a way that you didn’t before. Even if Google had meaningfully personalized results for everyone – SEO would still be relevant. In fact the better Google’s relevancy is, the more important SEO becomes…. but it might not resemble SEO today. SEO now mostly consists of repeatedly posting sensational articles of dubious value, but that encourage people to talk about them. Oh wait … ALL media promotions have always been that way (that’s where America got its name). I guess some things don’t change.

  196. I personally don’t find Google instant useful. I type so fast that the instant results always lag behind – and it actually slows me down to move my hand from the keyboard to the mouse. I just finish typing the phrase in most cases.

    Then again, that’s where the commenter above talked about getting focus groups comprised of average people. I type all day long and know how to use Google to find anything quickly. The average person surely interacts differently with Google.

    Something about it feels a little Big Brother-y. You guys aren’t trying to change our vocabulary are you? Seriously though, I personally enjoyed the simpler search interface. The action of things flickering around and changing without me actually doing it have for too long been associated in my mind with invasive advertising. I would love to hear from more average people about Google instant.

  197. Hi Matt, It seems Google can’t really handle link wheel techniques I found an interesting search results that might make you stunned.

    Please visit the link

    From page 2 onwards(in fact around the end of the first page) you can see sites(link wheel ones using exactly the same themes) dominating all the remaining search result pages and all of them link to the site named which is on top position of the keyword. You can see search results like this of tons of keywords linking to this main site. I reported this kind of spamming to Google but it seems spammers are getting better and better position. Before Google instant is rolled out fully, I think Google should know how to handle this kind of spamming first. Thanks.

  198. Forget Instant what the hell happened to GAKT ?

  199. I don’t view this as a negative or a positive. Its innovation, what technology is all about. For the searcher it may be helpful,if not they can always yurn it off, go to account settings. For SEOers its just part of business, being able to adapt. Whatif GI doesn’t deliver the results some people are looking for, it could turn out to be a boom for the extra-longtail. At the same time, its actually helping you by showing what Google thinks people are searching for. Adapt or die, business is war………its all about being nimble, in my humble opinion

  200. Hey Matt, any chance you could comment on the stuff which google instant selects not to show? This could potentially have a real affect on search if instant does become the “way people search in the future”

    I’m not talking about the long tail here as that probably gets increased by it… More like restricted words or substrings.


  201. Hi matt
    I’m following your blog almost a year and learning a lot from it.
    My only problem is that i dont know how much from this information is relevant to seo in other languages and countries like Israel and hebrew for example.
    How long do you setimate these changes will have effect on other languages?

  202. I used to respect Google for its simple, yet elegant approach to finding information Matt. But this new change sucks big time and I will likely switch to your competitor. I find it very distracting that when I am typing something in, it starts giving me results that I absolutely did not want.

    Then, to turn it off, I have to keep doing it again and again. If I turn it off, it should stay off, but not you guys didn’t offer that. I should just be able to turn it off and be done with it. Sad to see Google do this as they have really lost touch for why people choose Google in the first place. Your motto is do no evil…Change it to – don’t be stupid. This is a bad decision.

  203. Hi Matt,
    To be fact Google Instant is a great invention from Google.
    It also slightly changed the way of SEO.
    Hope, We get many more great inventions from Google like Google Instant Search soon.

  204. I am really happy to see this new feature. Already I have noticed a decrease in my clients Adwords CTR. One of my clients has seen a nearly 50% decrease in CTR with a doubling of Impressions. Incredible!

    For quite awhile I have been pushing clients to put more effort into their social media campaigns. With Adwords performance slowly declining over the last two years, click fraud remaining steady, and now this lovely addition to the mix, I have the evidence I need to get them moving in a new direction.

    There is nothing better than searching on “Ice Rocket” for SM users status post which self reference a “need”, and then connecting one on one to fulfill that need. When I show this to a client and then show them the dismal performance and cost of the NEW Adwords based instant search, they are finally smelling the “coffee” of the “caffeine update” and switching tactics and funds away from Adwords.

    Numbers are all that matter to my e-commerce clients, and now that we have proof of the decline in raw numbers, I am getting a lot of traction for changes in their ad spends.

    Whoever thought of this distracting methodology should receive a “bullet to the foot” award. You have actually helped me make the case for moving away from PPC and for that I thank you!

    tl;dr – Google made a mistake here. And I am happy to see it.

  205. I have to admit, initially I was COMPLETELY turned off by it (and as a newbie, had no idea what it would entail to SEO), but upon trying it more and more, it seems very intuitive and gave me a pleasant user experience.

  206. I have noticed google instant, but I am searching my way – I see the results changing under the search box, but force of habit means I type my query before looking through the results. I will give instant a proper go, but it’s difficult to change how you search!! ;0)

    I see the idea about giving people different avenues of research, and I see that working for reasearch (and I like it!), but not when it comes to ecommerce. If I want to search for a certain product, it doesn’t matter how many different alternatives Google gives me, I want to find the product I am searching for. Will be interesting to see how instant handles that!

  207. Anyone remember Netscape’s infamous ‘blink’ tag? ‘Instant’ is Google’s ‘blink’ tag. Do I really need to say anything more? As a professional developer with 17 years of experience in design, usability, SEO, etc., I am frankly astonished by this grossly negligent, and misguided new ‘tool’. I can only thing of the millions of less than tech savvy users who will use ‘Instant’ for the first time, and assume their computer is broken, or has become infected by some malware. Make no mistake Matt, that WILL be the impression for many, many, MANY, users. Has any thought whatsoever gone into usability testing, with a fair representation of user demographics, as opposed to Google devs/techies? I guess Google is just trying to ‘keep pace’. I truly understand the need for innovation, but not solely for innovation’s sake. Unfortunately, I am seeing more and more of this attitude lately. Look at the utter disgrace eBay has become as a great example of this senseless ‘push’ for innovation, with their totally unusable, ‘improvements’ over the last year. Sellers can’t even figure out how to use the tools to sell their products anymore. Innovation? Great business model? eBay’s popularity has declined as a direct result of these kinds of misguided design decisions, and their CEO has since bailed to become a politician. Some times less is more. Google, more than anyone should know that. That was Google’s core philosophy. Was. This is just sad. But history tends to repeat itself. Remember the ‘blink’ tag. And remember the day that Google chose to resemble a malware attack. Stupid.

  208. Breaking usability like the backspace could be the dumbest thing I have ever seen google do. Whatever positive the instant search has, it is completely negated by breaking normal browser behavior. Google is not better than web standards. Give me back my backspace button.

  209. That’s a lot of time saving!

    At this stage I don’t have any firsthand comment as GI isn’t available in my country (New Zealand) but reading the blog posts there are clearly two camps and no middle ground. 🙂

    And the SEO community is similarly divided.

    I guess it’s that old “time will tell” thing.

  210. Hi Matt,

    Agreed, it is a great feature.

    However, eventually people will be revolving around ONLY the suggested terms and will never give a try for their own new query key phrase. This locks them and limits them. Doesn’t it? Additionally the cost for those suggested terms ads would spike up day by day.

  211. Personally, I do not like Google Instant. I was watching a Bing commercial the other day and it was saying how overloaded with information we are with search. That’s true with Google now more than ever.

    Google Instant is giving us irrelevant information blinking in (almost worse than a popup) as we type our search. It’s an information overload because it’s information that we now see that we didn’t intend to look for. Seems to me the relevance factor has taken a back seat.

  212. Like anything Google does people look like they’re freaking out about nothing. If anything this makes me able to much more quickly see how good or bad a search is going to be to find the information I am looking for. There is nothing more frustrating that having writers…or maybe searchers block and being unable to find what I need. Search, wait for results, search again…now I can just type in what i think seems right and keep refining my search.

    Seems pretty much awesome so far.

  213. Has anyone noticed that the results are different for a keyword on the instant search to the search submitted from a form? (or at least it is at the moment)

  214. Google Instant waste of time, especially postcodes / zip codes, why bother wasting the bandwidth and processing power trying to predict something that only the user knows what they are going to type.

    I would choose either the 10,000 most used querries and maybe include some dynamic phrases from the or and maybe and Twitter or nothing.

    The web is free expression don’t try and limit us, concentrate on working out who are the good guys and the bad guys, “do no evil”.


    PHP and MySQL Master App Maker

  215. After my previous rushed comments in my last post!

    OK I am slightly converted, been testing it out after turning it off as soon as it arrived nearly a year ago from what I remember.

    Products, people, artists all great so far even for html and PHP terminology, and now the more I try it the more addictive it is !!!

    I cant spell great, I don’t need to I am in IT, and that’s why we have spell check right, my brain don’t need that info anymore, like telephone numbers I don’t remember many now apart from mine and the other half’s because of the mobile phone!

    Ah Google you win again, what are the effects on SEO are certain terms just going to be taken up by the big boys and the CPC on adverts, ah its all too much !!!!



  216. The more I use Google Instant the more it grows on me…at the end of the day surely anything which saves users time has got to be a good thing? Whether or not it changes the way in which we approach SEO only time will tell but after just a few weeks I think Google Instant is here to stay. If we need to change the way in which we approach SEO, it is likely that it will be changing our keyword research due to a development in the way in which people search as opposed to the actual backbones and theory of the SEO work. In my opinion, it should be seen as a development in Google not a problem as some people are stating it may be.

  217. I’m not sure what has changed since about September 1st, but our traffic has been very “spiky” and seems to turn on and off since Instant started. My 10 year old site was nearly wiped out after Mayday, but slowly returned to near normal after a few months.

    Now in September it seems like the whole world just disappeared! We seem to be getting the same volume of traffic, but it seems to be a much lower quality traffic or traffic from foreign countries. Very low conversions so my assumption is that either Instant is still digesting data or Instant produces customers who are not as targeted as those delivered in previous Google system.

    My sales are less than half of what they were last year and they are declining every week. Once it hits zero, we lose the house, car, everything! It’s bad enough to make a grown man cry, literally. It looks like we are not alone, many at WMW are experiencing the same loss of sales, with traffic levels that appear strangely unchanged.

  218. What i can say about Google Instant is its “AWESOME” What I experience is that, Google is trying to remove press Enter factor for searches, gives more fast results that is “Results Before You Expect” But one thing more i want to add is it has also killed the “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” form the page which was the oldest, quirkiest features of Google.An analyst suggested the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button probably cost Google as much as $110 million per year.

    At the time, Marissa Mayer said that Google hadn’t ditched the button because “It’s possible to become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money.”

    She said, “I think what’s delightful about ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ is that it reminds you there are real people here.”

    Today, Marissa gets to eat her (cup)cake and have it too. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is still there on – perhaps reminding users there are real people at Google – but it’s been rendered entirely irrelevant.

  219. Not everybody likes the new feature , on the other hand it sure helps you by giving the results right away and see if you’re on the right path when searching something that you looked into before and recognize it from the live results

  220. Have been trying Google instant and it is slowly growing on me. Would like to know when/if it will be rolled out to the rest of the world – specifically NZ & Aus.

  221. I agree with you on this that SEO face will change and I am damn sure SEO can never die. I have slightly different view on how the face of SEO will change.

    I think we will see lesser SEO experts because top 3 positions becomes ultimate and those who cannot make it will not call them SEO experts at least

  222. This feature is just annoying and it really isn’t going to save time. Almost all of the time you save with Google instant is going to be wasted. It isn’t going to add up over time. How much time OTHER people save is completely irrelevant to you. As soon as you encounter anything that has any schedule whatsoever, this time saved is lost because that schedule doesn’t care how much time you saved. You have to go to school or work at a set time and that time isn’t going to change because you saved a minute beforehand. You have to use that minute BEFORE you leave, it’s not going to carry over afterwards. Imagine stopping at a light. If there are no other cars, does it matter if you get there just before the light turns red or just before it turns back to green? No. Either way, as long as you stop, the light will turn back to green at the same time. That said, even going for a drive could neutralize any time you save.
    If I search 5 times I save as much as 25 seconds. What am I supposed to do in 25 seconds? It’s almost all wasted. At most, it’s a different way of searching and might save some money for the company and might save a little computing power, but it’s not going to save you any significant amount of time.

  223. Agreed, it is a great feature but however if I use Instant I get a smaller and more compact version of search results and a lot of white space on the screen. I’ve never had the problem before and don’t have it using the regular search.

  224. Let us (webmasters) somehow turn off google instant and autocomplete, because when I turn instant off, I get phrasses offered by autocomplete. I know a lot of webmasters, who hate this thing, so the ability to turn it off would be nice.

  225. As I can see… I’ve read most of the comments, but they’re so many that who has the time… I see opinions on both sides of the fence. I’m actually pro Google Instant oriented, so don’t expect me to throw stones at it. But it did change the game in Search quite a lot. And there’s more to come, when you switch it on for all international Google websites. Can’t wait to see what’ll happen with my competition when Google Instant comes to

  226. Great post because my ‘knee jerk’ reaction was to turn it off but I thought I would leave it on for a week or so and see how I felt then about it.

    My conclusion is I like it and it is definitely a benefit to Google. In terms of does it end seo, I agree that it completely doesnt end it…but yes it changes it. Not a big surprise because seo has been changing since the late 90’s! In my opinion SEO will have a place for a long time to come and it will just keep changing, altering and refining itself like it has since the good old days of Meta Tags.

  227. Hi, Thanx for blog post and video about WP for SEO!

    Google Instant aggrevates my carpal tunnel, because there is no simple way to turn it off, only after starting a search and getting results does the on/off button appear on the upper right. Turn it off, and the results disappear, and you have to type the search all over!!! Or, now that I know, I have to copy the search before turning it off; then paste it once the page refreshes to home.

    I’m almost 50, librarian kind, like to take my time and sift through ten pages of search results easily. You’re not programming Google anymore in a friendly way to the user, to minimize the clicks.

    To Google’s credit, it programmed the News page back so you could zero out the search, and start a fresh search. Google News logo didn’t resolve for a while – thanx for that!

    Please make Google search setting selectable right on the homepage!

    Thanx! Great job, otherwise!

  228. I don’t see how instant affects seo either. I mean the same keywords will pop up. I personally find it distracting and not helpful. Saving a few seconds? I mean, are you kidding me? How lazy are people? This strikes me as just a promotional play the marketing types came up with during a weekly meeting: “Let’s make instant searches, let’s publicize this and make it about how technically advanced Google is..”. yada yada yada. It is the same mentality that says you have to have instant poll results during a presidential campaign.. This is damaging and condescending. It is damaging because it further reduces the human experience to instantaneous stimuli, thus making us lazier and lazier. It is condescending because it assumes there is even a demand or a need for such things.
    I am by no means a Luddite here. I work online 10 hours a day.

  229. I have tried Google Instant, and it has proven to be very useful and intuitive in my research work. In fact, it has also opened perspectives that i would otherwise have missed. Fantastic tool!

  230. I’m quite into instant both from a SEO standpoint and as user. I’m more aware of the keywords that I should be focussing on than I was with Google Suggest. So all good there. What I would like though is to turn off personalisation. I’m not sure if it does that even if I log out? If people ever stop finding my site in Google UK for the phrase ‘motorhome hire’ I will lose a lot of business. But to check that it is still OK I use a logged out, but is that enough? Especially as I live in France. If any one has some answers please let me know I think you can click my name at the top of the post. One interesting thing was that With the introduction of instant, I suddenly became on the first page for ‘how to get number one in google’ – or was that just personalisation telling me what I wanted to hear?

  231. Instant Search, Love it or hate it, I think Google are right to keep pushing the boundaries. I’m sure Google search will change many times in the coming months and years, as they try to improve the users experience and that’s how it should be, saying that, I hate Google Instant! 🙂

  232. So far I’m really enjoying instant. It’s great for those long-tail queries – saves a lot of typing time.

  233. When I first tried Google Instant, I hated it instantly.

    After reading this post, I decided to give it another try, and guess what? Still hate it.

    I find it distracting & think it that will frequently distract people from their original search & therefore waste much more time than it saves.

  234. I dont mind Google Instant…BUT…I would prefer it not to kick in until you have typed at least 4 or 5 letters. There is no way on earth it can guess what I am typing from “sa” or “ma” etc, however from “sala” “matc” it can kind of guess the word is going to be “salad” or “match”.

    I’ve actually had one person say to me “why does google keep refreshing while im trying to type” as they type so slow that the instant results change between key presses. I believe these are the people instant is supposed to be “helping” yet I think most will find it more confusing rather than helpful.

  235. I am a blogger and webmaster and to be honest I like instant. The biggest thing that bothers me though it that people tend to get sidetracked during a query and that instant gives them another reason to get sidetracked.

  236. The instant search is quite useful although kinda distractive at times as others mentioned you may start searching for one thing ending up search for another. Now for SEO it may force developers to over-optimize pages based on instant search results something, I am not sure what side-effects will bring in.

    I also noticed something strange, with FF. If I login to my WMT -> analytics and then use the search by going to the main page entering keywords and searching, the search input box ends up in the middle of the page mangled with results. It doesn’t happen if I am not logged in and/or js is disabled. I also don’t know if there is a specific sequence of pages accessed which caused it along with the instant search, as it happened once thus far.

  237. I really don’t see how enhancements like this can be regarded as anything but positive. We are not losing the ability to conduct a ‘traditional search’ but getting additional options, to make things easier and more efficient, when searching. it’s an A+ from me…

  238. I’m one of those people who immediately turned this feature off.

    I’m not entirely sure why, but to me if I’m searching for something, I know exactly what I want and to me it’s an uneccessary distraction. Which isn’t to say I haven’t wasted hours on wikipedia just going through various links until I end up on the diet of the Arctic Butterfly.

  239. From a user point of view, I wish google would stop changing things so much.

    Instead of me saving time with this instant thing I waste a lot of time trying to turn it off. I refresh my cookies quite often and everytime I do I end up with the annoying google instant again.

    The google suggestions was ok but I can’t imagine why anyone would want these annoying results flashing up and changing about 5 times a second. I type faster only so I can get the horrible process over with quicker. Googles results are still better than competitors but it is getting to where I will have to sacrifice that.

    The last time google annoyed me was when they put a whole page background image on the page. Luckily, enough people complained that they turned that off quite quickly. I hope enough people complain about this.

    The comments here don’t seem so negative so I can only assume that they don’t want to annoy the google guy.

  240. I was looking for “Panda Express” but when I typed “PAN” I saw “Pandora” first on the serp. I ended up listening to online radio instead, now i am starving and all the stores are closed…. I tell you what.. Google instant… instantly made me hungary…

  241. I recently read about Google Instant coming to ~18 different countries, where Sweden (where I live) where one of them. I´ve followed the evolution of Google Instant on for a while and there are two sides with it, one positive and one negative. The positive one is that is is fast and helpful, the negative one is that it makes the users more lazy. – You dont have to type in the whole keywords, Google will fill it in for you.

    I´m no fan of instant, I think it flashes to much and, maybe it would be best if the user could choose between regular search, and Instant search?

  242. Matt,

    To be honest I’m a little worried that Google instant will contribute to what I think of as a tunneling effect. By this I mean search is already tunneling the result to the first page or two of Google. In essence if you are not on the first few pages you don’t exist. Now with Google instant search terms are being tunneled to the few items that appear in the suggestions.

    It seems to me the choices are getting more limited.

  243. I do not like this feature. It is very irritating to get result while you are typing

  244. Why do you talk so much about how important it is to optimise sites for niche and long tail keyphrases, then in one swoop completely get rid of that way of working?
    long tail no longer gets a chance as with instant, I have witnessed people typing slowly to see if the results are what they want. Quite often 2 words is enough. How does this help the smaller website owner compete with the likes of amazon etc.?

    What is the magnifying glass all about? now we are going to have people choose the ‘best looking’ site from the results. Well I say best looking site, I assume this is if the sites can be listed above the google places and twitter results.

    If I wanted twitter results, guess what? I would go to twitter.
    I can understand perhaps twitter results in news search, but not web search.

    As for google places, what a crock. Again, as with my first point about optimising for the niche and long tail, a qualifying key word that has always done well is the location. Particularly for websites who want business or operate in a certain area. Now you have totally ruined that by allowing places to dominate the results. in almost every case that I have tried, the places results are poor. In many cases the sites look like they have been created in 1995 and they dont even have contact details on them!

    Adwords is now a mess. I have seen the cpc increase as sites are trying to get a top 3 position, being 4 and below is now no longer worth anything. Any scroll will see the map cover the ads up and only the top 3 get site extentions.

    Site extentions, why not add more and more clutter to the pages?
    you have already introduced a left hand sidebar with lots of personal stuff on that I dont want.
    If you did a survey and asked 1million people how many of them actually use the left hand side stuff. I reckon the answer will be less than 1%.

    If I wanted, horroscopes, places, wiki, twitter, social media etc. then I would use Yahoo.
    the reason you have so many users is because you are simple and accurate. I cont get bomabarded with rubbish, just a simple search box, I type in a question or query and I get pretty decent answers. well, at least I did until recently.

    After being an avid user of Google for so long, I am now switching to Yahoo for my advertising and will try the search out too. Maybe even use alltheweb or something else.

    Well done Google, you have just become Yahoo’s best sales lead.

  245. I remember responding to a blog post about whether Google Instant would change the way people search. That was a couple of months ago. It still doesn’t change the way I search, since I pay no attention to the “instant” results. I just continue typing to get what I want.

    I do think there is often a lot of distraction on the results pages. As a result, I wonder how my site will be affected in the SERPs. I guess it’s a question we all have, especially those of us who are continually doing our best to appeal to Google.

  246. I have to say I hate google instant for one simple reason – my computer is five years old and at the time was ‘state of the art.. but it often freezes up as I type and the instant results are returned, which means that I am waiting around endlessly before it lets me continue with the right search. Often if I touch any key it deems that I have selected whatever was in the box, which means I have to start over. I hate it; its frustrating, annoying, and rarely gets my ‘prediction’ right. The old setup was much better, where you were given a list of potentially relevant searches.

    Until I leart five minutes ago that I can switch this off (thank god) I would have gone on a permanent basis to Bing. A large proportion of users dont upgrade their computers every couple of years, and if this is even a moderately common problem for users of systems that are more than a couple of years old, I would guess that lots of people will fall away to other search engine providers.

    Instant needs fixing so that it permits a searcher to get a minimum of say 12 characters in before it kicks in, if yoy are to keep this large proportion of your market users.

  247. I am personally loving Google’s instant search. It just makes the process easier for me from a consumer or searcher perspective, and from an SEO/business perspective I can merge my keyword research with Google instant suggestions to outwit some of my competitors who do not think outside the box.

  248. To save time, I’m not going to search the comments, someone had to notice the danger.
    If TOO many people use Google instant, we will go back in time. It was bad enough when Stephen Wright put instant coffee in a microwave.

    What I would like to see, and it’s probably their, is a 3D lexicon extension which maps words and their associations and relativities, maybe with a selectable overriding logic that canvases how the map generates it’s word “links”.

    It would be helpful to have a thing like that when profiling keywords, and profiling the users “profile” as they search, because for example, I would bet, a stereotypic locksmith, rapper, serial killer and programmer all search with various patterns. it’s a guess of course, but even mispelling algorithms are useful.
    Now I have wasted all the time Google Istant just saved this week.

  249. Google Instant is driving me mad. If this is supposed to speed up my search experience it fails dismally. The most sinister aspect is that the default setting is ‘Instant on’ for anyone searching without having signed in. You can turn it off after the search response has upset your train of thought, but then it bounces you back to a plain screen and your original search term has to be entered again.

    And another thing … It stalls, leaving you with no results.

    And another thing … If you leave your mouse over the search box and enter your term and press enter (as we have all become accustomed to doing over the years of previous successful searching) you’re likely to pick up a completely un-related search term from the list below.

    And another thing … The page constantly changing every time I type a letter makes me feel sick and after a couple of seconds makes my eyes twitch and gives me headaches (Please accept this as a formal request to make the default setting off … or I might feel inclined to call a doctor and see just how much damage your new system is causing my artists eye)

  250. I for one love google instant and think it’s a great step into the right direction of providing a much better user experience. I do agree though that all the very fast blinking around as one is typing is making me dizzy sometimes – and that occasionally I see a result that I like but start clearing the bar for another search and loose the result (usually I clear the bar – type in a new query – then click on a few of the previous results to open in a new tab – then execute the new query) – so that particular workflow is not possible anymore so I first click on results now – then delete the query. But still prefer it to not having it at all:)

  251. Colin I must say I am kind of with you in a way.

    I see that Google Instant has helped in a lot of ways, ie. speed, helping users refine their search for things they may not know about etc but I have certainly seen plenty of instances where the whole thing freezes up which is more than frustrating.

    I am not sure whether this only happens on a bad wireless connection as I was out of the office at the time, but if this continues it will make the process slower, not faster for some users which is never a good thing.

  252. At first I didn’t like it at all! But after using it for a while i’ve grown to like it. It is great for research, throws up search terms/phrases i wouldn’t have ordinarily come across and is great for drilling down into specifics.

  253. I found this blog after hours of searching/reading about google instant. I found it annoying and there was no intuitive way to turn it off permanently without using the mouse. I’m very keyboard-centric and I also delete cookies on exit in firefox. I’ve come to like autocomplete and want my default behavior to be – autocomplete=on and instant=off. That’s where my search started. The short answer is…you can’t. At least not without using some kind of hack or add-on.

    What I kept finding during my searches was blog after blog after blog of dozens of people saying how much they dislike google instant and dozens of people “finding this comment useful”. Not surprising since I was looking for a way to disable it. So I decided to search for “google instant is cool” and “google instant is awesome” and “google instant is great”. Most of those results pointed to the same type of blogs…most people dislike google instant.

    Ultimately, I land here and find a substantial number positive comments and very few negative comments. So I’m wondering who is this guy Matt who is such a fan of google instant and how does he have so many people agreeing with him. So I click the “about me” link at the top and discover…he works for google. I smell fish.

    All in all, I spent the last 3 hours trying to disable google instant and also trying to understand why google doesn’t want you to disable it. They say it saves me time. In fact up to 2 seconds per search. Wow! Maybe if I switch use google instant now I can get my ROI in 3-5 years. The likely motive presents itself when you look at the $5M revenue PER WEEK that google instant has brought to the table. And here I am throwing good time at bad by writing this stupid post that will likely not appear in the blog because it’s dissenting.

    Finally, it’s not for me to say whether google instant is good or bad. I don’t like it and I want the choice to use it or not without having to hack my browser’s user agent header or install some other add-on that I have to maintain. In the thousands of hours developers spent on google instant, surely someone suggested having a feature to disable it using a query string parameter. But it’s not there. Why? I don’t know…but there is an answer and rest assured there is a dollar sign in front of it.

  254. In my opinion, Google Instant Search is a big help to internet marketers / SEO specialists. Saves you time, you get an idea of what people are searching for and how to and how Not to structure their pages.

    I created a small video about it at

    See if it helps.

  255. Thanks, Colin Hall, for taking the time to express everything that drives me mad about instant search. Pul-eeze, Google gods, there has to be a way to turn it off permanently or set it to off as a permanent default.

  256. I do not care for google instant. It should be a matter of choice and not checked ON. Yes, I’m aware that I can UNCHECK it but must google users have to do this EVERY SINGLE TIME we begin a search? Please folks, you must think google instant is the greatest thing since facebook but I don’t care for it.

  257. I see by some of the comments posted that there are people out there just as fed up with google instant as I am. Do our opinions matter to you folks and are you willing to a least give US the choice to turn the button ON or OFF, permanently, on google instant?

  258. You can turn it off in preferences, right? I think it sets a cookie.

    I’m mixed about Google Instant. It’s pretty awesome to see search evolve, but I’ve turned it off for now. Because I often search from the results page, as soon as I start typing the results change, meaning I have to know exactly what I’m searching for before I start typing.

  259. I love Google instant search. Personally I think it more accurately reflects what searches are looking for without having to type some long, drawn out question. Will probably cut down drastically on the amount of unique searches Google receives.

  260. I agree with a lot of other people, please give us a permanent “off” option for Google Instant. It was fun for a while, now it’s just plain annoying and never served up the time savings it claimed. In fact, I spend more time now than I did before.

  261. Couldn’t have said it any better than how Chris Hall said it;

    ” I agree with a lot of other people, please give us a permanent “off” option for Google Instant. It was fun for a while, now it’s just plain annoying and never served up the time savings it claimed. In fact, I spend more time now than I did before.”

    I vote for a permanent “off” option, as I find it to bandwidth/data intensive, especially in Australia where data is quite expensive.

  262. I understand google’s reasoning behind the instant search, however I personally find it annoying and distracting.. Having the drop-down menu flashing while I ‘m typing doesn’t help. I find I am dreading to “Google It”. Is there a way to make this feature optional?

  263. This will change SEO some but it definitely won’t ruin SEO. Google still has a lot to work with it
    Google instant. They’re are plenty of people that don’t like Google instant and would like a way to turn it off.

  264. I’ve become a real convert to Google Instant. Hated it when I first saw it but now I see it allows me to modify searches almost in mid-query. Great tool, big step forward.

  265. Depending on what I am trying to accomplish determines if I like instant or not. Sometimes instant does not seem so “instant”. I do like the addition of the “turn Instant off” to the right of the search bar, I just wish I could set it to default “off” for my account.

  266. I dont like it. I keep turning it off and next time I load up it comes back on. Along with the location which automatically puts me in the wrong area. Good idea but doesnt really make any improvements for me.

  267. I think Google Instant is pretty sweet, and it has definitely opened a few doors for the SEO gurus out there to target. I do like the ability to turn it off, because yes, it sometimes gets annoying, but other than that it is pretty sweet.

  268. Google instant thinks it can read my mind and slows my search progress. Unless I can find a way to turn it off permanently I willl find another home and search page.

  269. Interesting information, instant is something that is really valuable. The disadvantage for me and users is that the search results are very compact and it contains a lot of white space on the screen. It basically narrows down, when using the feature.

  270. At first, I did not like Google Instant. Yes, I’m a creature of habit, and I didn’t like the change. But over time, I’ve come to realize that it actually is a reflection of what people are most likely searching for- which helps me in my search. It is like a ‘suggestion’ if I’m having difficulty searching.

  271. I’m turning it off. I don’t like having the results change; too I have begun feeling rather ‘dictated to’ regarding the intention of my search. (I’ve begun typing in, “No! I DIDN’T mean ….!) It has gotten to the point where facts I know 100% are challenged by the computer system? No, thanks.

    I also wish that names with spelling variations did not turn up in search results, usually obscuring the name result I’m looking for, for several pages.

  272. I have been keeping a close eye on this for over 6 months now and I must say things have improved quite a bit. It appears to me that certain markets/industries are still experiencing misled information/incorrect results or maybe that is just the way Google are interpreting the search. The Google instant service I think still needs improvement and the basic algorithm factors re-visiting but within reason things are slowly getting better.

    There seems to be some issue with Chrome and how it leaves the search there or should I say the drop down box, then again, it could be down to me?

    Anyway. Keep up the good work Google 😉

  273. I agree with a lot of other people,Google instant thinks it can read my mind and slows my search progress. Unless I can find a way to turn it off permanently I willl find another home and search page, please give us a permanent “off” option for Google Instant. It was fun for a while, now it’s just plain annoying and never served up the time savings it claimed. In fact, I spend more time now than I did before.

  274. I like it. I feel as if it gives people a better insight for adword ideas and SEO ideas.

  275. Google Instant so annoying, so irritating, so distracting, it makes me want to SCREAM!!! But that’s not the worst part- maybe some people like it and that’s fine, go ahead and enjoy. But it is also glitchy- the damn thing keeps turning itself back on! I’ve experienced this with several different computers. This is unacceptable. I’ve used Google since the beginning, but I’m going to say Adios. Google Instant is a piece of crap.

  276. I find it very irritating, I really don’t like anything that tries to think for me.

  277. As an end-user, Google Instant is a lifesaver. Every time I am looking for something new (example, looking for wholesale suppliers), the search engine instantly provides me with options – many of them – so I can choose which one will be useful for me.


  278. I really enjoy Google Instant Search. It has enabled me to target specific phrases with my website so that more targeted prospects can find me. Being a cosmetic dentist, there is a limited market of who needs our services.

    Google Instant has helped my identify the best money words that can help grow my website traffic. In addition, I really like it from a consumer perspective! It has made finding the kinds of items I like to buy online much easier!

  279. Instant has finally grown on me. I couldn’t stand it at first. Maybe just reluctant to change. Now I count on it predicting what I need. Actually, quite often, I may not have even thought of what it’s recommending and sometimes I change my mind in mid search and spend a couple minutes looking at the recommended results. Gotta say it was a good addition.

  280. equivalent rss downside? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  281. I found it really difficult to get used to google instant, but now I really like it, it saves me a lot of time, thats for sure!

  282. This is the single most annoyance of the web, and worst is the interface is buggy, many times it happens that my search term changes while I am typing. I look at the screen and WTF I did not search that, then I have to mouse click, correct the term, …
    It is a way to make searching slower so people stay longer at the Google, to increase the chance of Adsense click. Great for SEO and marketing, terrible for users.

  283. After using it for a few months, I actually find it very intuitive and time saving. I can search and stop typing mid-phrase and the result will be right there!

  284. I think everyone has gone Google Instant crazy. I now see Adwords Ad’s bidding for stupid terms that they wouldn’t have before.

    I have to agree with some comments on here. But will this kill SEO? no. Will it change the way we optimise websites no, Quality is KING.

    All Google Instant is trying to do is making searching easier for the user and will hopefully return faster results. That’s it!

  285. I don’t think this will Kill SEO, I’m excited to see how Google evolves over the years to come as we are constantly changing and improving our processes

  286. What has Google done has changed many things including the webmasters. Visitors easy, but webmasters had to learn more.