Keyword Research Meets Google Instant

by Chris Horton

We looked at keyword intent to uncover how Google looks at your site, but with the full blown release of Google Instant which we see to be a positive thing for long tail SEO, it also gives us some more insight into just what Google is thinking even as you type.  That revelation alone can uncover even more missed opportunities for your website.

If you’ve used Google, you’ve already seen Google Instant at work. You start typing and Google is already displaying results based on what you’ve typed so far even if you pause for a split second (hence the “Instant” moniker). Not only is it presenting you with options that are the most popularly searched for the moment based on other searches, but it’s also changing the results page for each variation that you complete. In this example below, we started typing the word “printer” and it gave us keyword options that are the most popular at the moment, all the while showing us SERP results for “printer“, just in case we’re already done typing.

Google Instant

There is a lot of significance here for you as a website owner and one that’s not lost on any serious SEO professional worth their salt.  The first being that Google is offering up the most popular keywords based on the root keyword of “printer”.  Not since the now defunct Google Wonder Wheel has Google laid it out so nicely for you. If your website carries a wide variety of printers, maybe you would consider creating a page dedicated to reviewing those printers since it’s a heavily searched keyword. While you would never expect to rank for “printer reviews” because of the competitive landscape like CNET, Amazon and the like), it may help to round out your site’s relevance to Google and also make your site more useful and comprehensive to your visitors in search of printer information.

However, if you’re a business card printer, you’re already going down the wrong path since these variations don’t lend any relevance to what you do.  Just think about the variations of the “printer” keyword;

printer – could mean an inkjet printer, magazine printer, or business card printer.
printers – same as above, but now plural.
printer reviews – a review of inkjet printers? Or maybe customer reviews of local business card printers?

If you’re a business card printer, you should focus on that branch of keywords such as “card printer”, “business card printer” and don’t forget that adjectives are your friends. Words such as “free“, “best“, and “cheap” often rule the roost in search volume.  The same goes for localities such as “Dallas business card printer”. While “business cards” may sit on top of the most searched keyword related to your industry, you can almost guarantee that the person’s search didn’t end there simply because the results presented to them were probably way too broad to make any good decisions.  And once that happens, the searcher then begins to add those adjectives and begins refining the search term to narrow in on what they’re looking for.

This is exactly why Google implemented Google Instant. To not only guide a potential customer down the right path to find the most relevant information, but to also show you how to properly focus your site content to be useful to that person. We’ll talk more about that next.


Google Instant Saves SEO

by Chris Horton

For those way behind or that don’t keep up with SEO news, Google released a tool they had in hiding called Google Instant over a month ago.   If you’ve used Google, you’ve used it. The feature offers up search suggestions as you begin typing in the search window.

While many SEO professionals have screamed that this is going to kill SEO and make it irrelevant, there is a second school of thought that it will begin to even the playing field.  For every bigger player at the top of the search engines for broader terms, there are thousands of smaller players that rank well for more specific terms.

This addition by Google not only helps the searcher consider terms that they may not have thought of,  but it also helps them to possibly discover a smaller player.  For instance, in the example above, someone searching for SEO may not have considered searching for SEO tools or SEO software.  They may have simply planned on typing in “SEO” and hoping for the best.

This Google offering not only helps the person searching discover other searching options that are based on what people are actually searching for, but also provides them with more terms that will allow them to discover some smaller players that don’t rank for broader terms.

While sites ranking for broader terms will certainly cry foul because they see it as a distraction to the searcher, this change will help to reduce bandwidth for Google by helping searchers find what they want quicker and begin to level the playing field for smaller players.

While this change is fantastic to searchers, it will also increase revenue for Google because players who previously ignored the longer tail terms will have to rethink their SEM strategy to include those smaller traffic terms if they themselves aren’t ranking for those longer tail terms.  SEM professionals may want to keep their eye on sudden spikes on campaigns that once were dormant that all of sudden start seeing life.

Either way, Google Instant appears to be good for everyone.