As an SEO copywriter at heart, I have long maintained an avid personal and professional interest in this crucial digital discipline. Needless to say, the arrival of Google Instant – an engine that delivers results *as you type* – has caused something of a stir in digital circles. Will this spell a complete re-write (literally) of large digital websites? Or will well-optimised platforms be nicely positioned regardless of the change in search method?
Here are some key pointers for digital marketers
i) A search by any other name is just as sweet…
Let’s not forget that Google Instant does the same as Google ‘normal’ (Google ‘un-instant?’) – it delivers results based on users’ search requests. In theory, digital marketers with well-optimised websites should have nothing to fear. The time and effort that has been invested in SEO will continue to serve to serve them well. Google Instant is a change in search – but it’s still search.
ii) Redefine your keywords
Of course, this isn’t to say that Google Instant should be ignored completely. Like it or not, Google is Caesar, and when in Rome… If the masses do adopt Google Instant as their preferred search method, shorter keywords will become much more significant. For example, if you have built your SEO strategy around long-tail search strings such as ‘cheap electrical goods with free delivery in the UK’, you may need to refocus this to ‘cheap electrical goods’. Why? By the time your customer has typed ‘cheap electrical goods’ – nay, even ‘cheap electrical’ – they will have a stream of search results before them already.
iii) Long-tail search is not dead
Despite the introduction of Google Instant, this does not spell the death knell for long-tail search. If web users are looking for a specific search string, they’ll continue to type keywords until they find it. It’s far too easy for businesses to get hung up on being found for a very generic keyword, but consumers are a lot more savvy than we give them credit for. Don’t get me wrong; if you are a provider of ‘cheap holidays’, you have your work cut out for you – but then this is nothing new. If you are a manufacturer of bespoke Isle of Wight Oak tree furniture, the chances are people will continue to seek you out traditionally.
In summary? Google Instant will undoubtedly cause SEO copywriters and digital marketers some work over the next few months, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Good SEO copywriters know that you should regularly refresh your copy as best practice anyway, so Google Instant is not the doom-bringer than believe it to be.
This is an excellent opportunity for SEO copywriters and digital marketers to re-establish the keywords that they want to be found for, and to give their online presence a refresh. Google has not reinvented the wheel – it’s simply given that wheel a new lick of paint and as SEO / digital marketers, it’s our job to ensure that that wheel remains on the right track.