According to Google, the new feature, “Google Instant” that launched on September 8th, 2010 was designed to get better search results, faster. Google said: “Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.”
Google’s new instant search box appears while you type your query, refining as each keystroke is entered. This allows searchers to get to the right content much faster because they don’t have to finish typing the full search term or even press the search button. In addition, perhaps the search results appearing before the search allow the searcher to refine their original thought saving a fruitless search. Google says this can save us two to five seconds a search.
How will this new feature affect SEO?
Any change in our search habits is bound to change the results we receive, and also impact the search optimization we do to rank highly in these results. In particular, search engine optimization may be impacted by this change since Google instant will offer regionally specific search words when qualifying services that can be deemed “local” For instance try a search for “accident attorney” and you will see locations pop up in the suggested Google instant search phrases.
SEO tactics will also have to change because the longer search phrases don’t come up in the instant search box. The phrases are all two to four words, which means pages will have to be optimized for shorter search phrases.
Instead of SEO companies having to write content on their web pages to handle searches for spelling errors, instant search will decrease most spelling errors as searchers click on correctly spelled terms. SEO companies will begin to take advantage of the instant search results when typing in keyword phrases, and will increasingly use these results as key search phrases. Content will be designed around Google instant suggestions.
Finally adwords will certainly be impacted by instant search because adwords start appearing as soon as searchers type, so there are technically many more impressions possible for adwords campaigns. It will remain to be seen how well these convert though.