Recently I presented some brief information on the new Google Instant and what it means to your small business marketing. If you’ve been wondering how Google Instant will impact your search engine marketing program, I suggest you refer to Google Webmaster Central for more details.
According to Google, Instant may lead to an increase in the number of impressions that are being recorded for your website. That’s because search results are being updated as the user types. If the user ultimately wants to search for “dog groomer downtown Chicago open Saturday”, as she types “dog” she will see one set of results, and as she adds “dog groomer” she will see an updated set of results, with “dog groomer downtown” the results will update yet again. Well, you get the picture.
That could seem a little scary if you’re using AdWords to drive traffic. After all, an increased number of impressions with a minimal number of clicks will have a negative impact on your CPC.
But don’t worry. All those updated results will not be counted as an impression, unless the user clicks along the way.
Let’s use the above search query as an example. Let’s say I’m looking for a dog groomer in downtown Chicago who is open on Saturdays. I start to type “dog” and a list of sites is presented. Those sites are not “charged” with an impresson. As I add “groomer” and get a new set of results, those sites are also not charged. But let’s say when I add “downtown” I see a site in the new results that I want to check out, so I click one of the links. All of those sites that were presented for “dog groomer downtown” will get charged with an impression.
Now, let’s look at the other scenario, and that’s Google’s 3 second rule.
Again, we’ll use the dog groomer in downtown Chicago who is open on Saturdays as an example. Let’s say that as I type “dog groomer downtown” a few of the results catch my eye. So I linger on the page for a little while, scanning the results. But then I decide the results aren’t actually for Chicago, so I continue to type the rest of my query.
If I lingered at the search engine results page scanning the listings for 3 seconds or more, those sites are then charged with an impression.
Which means that ultimately, you can end up getting charged with searchers that were never intended for you in the first place.
How will Google Instant effect the future of pay per click – and search engine optimization in general? That has yet to be determined. But I can tell you that my internet marketing colleagues aren’t extremely happy about Google Instant; and to be perfectly honest, neither am I.
I find Google Instant a little annoying and distracting, and I cringe at the thought of what it will do to conversion rates. But I guess only time will tell. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted on the Google Instant updates as the come along.
Karen Scharf, small business marketing consultant, works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several papers, reports and checklists, including her FREE 4 Simplest Tactics for Increasing Your Customer Base and Growing Your Bottom Line. Download this and many other small business marketing tips now.