What does Google Instant mean to Bloggers?

Google Instant and Bloggers: Write Your Way to Page One by Susan Getgood, author of Professional Blogging for Dummies, prompted me to try some searches as a Google vs. Yahoo! test. The tests were not timed for speed.

Both Google and Yahoo! use Ajax to offer suggested search strings while you are typing. But only Google Instant displays search results under the search box as you type. (I explained this in Google Search is now Google Instant, in case you haven’t seen it in action yet.)

First I searched for ‘fieldset css.’ This blog came up in 4th position on Google for that phrase. It came in 3rd on Yahoo! On Google, the first thing displayed was an ad – inexplicably, I saw an ad for folding tables. On Yahoo! there is no ad.

That’s sort of cheating, because I know the fieldset articles here are popular. How about something less popular? Maybe ‘book reviews’.

This blog is not anywhere in the first page of results on either search engine when I searched for ‘book reviews’. Same result with ‘web design book reviews’. Web Teacher didn’t do well.

Web Teacher didn’t show up on the first page for ‘web design book reviews’? That breaks my heart a bit, especially since there is text right after the blog title that says “Tips, web design book reviews, resources and observations for teaching and learning web development.” on every page. Note to self: work on this.

Okay, how about a specific book review? Perhaps the one for Professional Blogging for Dummies which I posted here and at BlogHer (in slightly different versions in the two places).  At Google, the BlogHer post is listed 4th, with the Web Teacher version indented under it as a related article. At Yahoo!, the BlogHer post shows up in 2nd place, but the Web Teacher version is not listed. Maybe Yahoo! didn’t recognize the differences enough to considered them as separate posts. Or something – who knows.

As I mentioned, I wasn’t doing speed tests or anything remotely scientific. I was mostly noodling around out of curiosity. That said, the major difference was that Google Instant shows the search results before you press Enter to initiate the search. Once you get down to looking through the search results, Google Instant and Yahoo! were basically equivalent. Maybe it’s too early to tell what Google Instant may mean to bloggers in terms of keywords. According to Google Instant and Bloggers: Write Your Way to Page One, bloggers just need to continue to write good content and include relevant keywords in that content.

Google Search is now Google Instant

Google Instant. It’s new and it’s fast. Google announced it with the headline Search: now faster than the speed of type.

Here’s how it works. You start typing something in the Google search box. The instant you start typing, Google shows you suggestions for what it thinks you are looking for. The more you type, the closer the suggestions come to what you want. As soon as you see the one you want, you arrow down to it and don’t have to type any more.

To get to BlogHer, you have to type “blogh” before you see BlogHer.

Google Instant needed blogh to suggest blogher

Actually, you don’t even have to arrow down to the choice you want. While you’re typing, search results show up below the search box. The search results change with each letter typed. When I reached the point of typing “blogh”, these were the search results I saw.

Google Instant Search Results before typing is finished

Here’s a Google video showing it in action. Feel free to sing along.

Twitter was immediate flooded with tweets about what a great thing it was and how fast it was. For most people, it was love at first sight.

I am in love with you, Google Instant! You started making life easier before I knew what the hell you were!Wed Sep 08 19:04:30 via TweetDeck

There were the inevitable jokers, too. You can rely on Twitter for that.

Google Instant-er…I think the only step left is for Google to call you and simply tell you what you want.Wed Sep 08 19:04:59 via Twitter for iPhone

There were even a few notes of caution.

Anyone else find Google Instant a bit scary? Especially when you make spelling mistakes without safe search on….Wed Sep 08 19:05:32 via web

Almost the moment it was released, the opinions started flying about what the implications of Google Instant might be. One blogger said, Google Instant Makes SEO Irrelevant.

Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors.

Headstrong Capitalism disagreed in Google Instant Thoughts $GOOG with,

It changes the game, SEO will now focus on individual letter combinations and not full words.

Lifehacker, bless ’em, posted an article about How to Turn Off Google Instant Search.

According to Google’s About Google Instant page, it may take a few days before everyone sees it on their Google search page.

Here’s a challenge for you, suggested by the Bob Dylan video from Google. If you knew “you’re the poetry man” was a lyric by Phoebe Snow, how many seconds (or milleseconds) would it take Google Instant to find you the complete lyrics? And what would you have to type to find it? Did you have to spell it right – I made a typo trying it – didn’t seem to matter.

Have you tried Google Instant? What did you think?

[Cross-posted at BlogHer.]