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08 Sep 10 Google Instant Search, Your Adwords CTR, and SEO Traffic

It’s rumored that Google will be launching their instant search or streaming search functionality today. Late last night I saw it in action, for a few minutes. I assume they are randomly testing it out with their users. I would have played around with it more if I had known for sure it wasn’t live for everyone. Here are my initial thoughts and questions based on my quick experience.

Inflated Adwords Impressions and Hijacked Clicks Unless…

As I was typing out me query the entire results page kept updating, including the ads. What this means is that by the time you are done typing you’ve probable seen 5-10+ ads. Any of them will flash by for a second or less. I expecting Google will not count these as impressions on your account, but how will they get reported? Drive-By Impressions? Or will advertisers not get this data. I believe that as users get used to this new feature, people will start to type queries slower in order to glance at the results AND ads. The benefit is that advertisers with ads being triggered by lower key phrase terms will now have first dibs at the traffic.

Let’s say a surfer wanted to search for “Dog Training For Beginners” , and you happen to be bidding on this phrase because you did your homework and only bid on highly targeted keyword phrases. With the new Google, an ad will show for “Dog”, this will probably not be targeted enough for the ad to match the surfers requirement. But the next set of ads and results will be for the phrase “Dog Training”. Depending on how well written the ad is, the surfer may never complete their initial query before they click away.

It will be interesting to see how web search behavior changes and how advertisers will have to modify their keyword selection process and ad copy writing to stay competitive. The same applies to anyone doing SEO.

#1 Position Could Be Worth a Lot More traffic!

I may be mistaken, but I think there is some keystroke or action that automatically or easily navigates you to the first result in the SERP. During my first encounter with instant search I somehow ended up on a website but I know for sure I didn’t click the listing to get there. All I know is that my fingers slipped and hit something that took me to the top results on the page. Whether this is an actual feature or even the results of my mistake, this could be huge for the SEO industry and everyone enjoying first position ranking for any keyword.

All this is going to become more clear at 9:30am PST today and I’ll update my post with thoughts

Update

Here’s more info on how impressions are counted on adwords, from The Adwords Advertisers FAQ
“When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:

  • The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
  • The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
  • The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.

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