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How to Adjust Your SEO to Deal With Google Instant

If you’ve noticed the Google search box is now making suggestions as you type in your query, you may be wondering how this helpful change is impacting the search engine optimization strategy you painstakingly implemented on your website.

Google Instant, which launched in the U.S. in early September, begins to populate the results page before you’ve even finished typing. Google claims that Instant does not impact the ranking of search results, but the suggestions rely on human behavior and topic trends. How many people will abandon their initial search query to click on one of the suggested terms or search results that pop up as they type?

More than ever before, searchers are going to be making split second decisions about the relevancy of your listing. Organic listings, those in the first and second spots, will see higher click-through rates, and those in the third and fourth position will fall, because typical Google Instant search results show three paid ads and one organic listing while a person is still typing in the search box.

While the full impact of Google Instant is a long way from being known, there are some immediate ways you can make adjustments to keep up with the shift in search.

Revising Your SEO Tactics
New best practices advised by include:

  • Add a call-to-action to meta tags and browser titles on main pages. The title itself has to capture attention to stand out among the paid listings that dominate the search screen.
  • Type in your most popular keywords to trigger Google Instant recommendations and adjust your keyword strategies accordingly. Both broad term and long-tail keyword phrases need to be reviewed. Traffic levels for long-tail keywords are already dropping off between 20 and 47 percent since Google Instant launched.
  • For Pay-Per-Click campaigns, watch your click-through rates carefully. The new streaming results will affect paid search by focusing on broader terms – creating even more competition and higher costs per click. Pay attention to your negative keyword lists, so your ads are not displayed for less relevant terms.
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