I started my internet career with a website for walkin interviews and it has dominated that niche since then with more than 30,000 feedburner subscribers till date. However in the recent months most of the SEO tracking signals like total traffic sent by Google, number of queries sending at least one visitor etc have gone into the red zone even though rankings for my target keywords have not changed much.
What started out as a simple search to find out the issue resulted in the realization that Google instance is going to have already having a significant impact on traffic that we get from Google. Here is a screen shot for a search for walkins.
Please study this image carefully before you move ahead with the post because most of the insights presented in the post are based on this.
- Increased importance of local queries: My website ranks #1 for all the popular terms like walkin, walkins etc. However instant has made the suggestions more localized. The person from Delhi is shown the query walkins in Delhi before any of those queries. I am safe in Delhi as I am #1 for that key term but I am loosing a lot of traffic in Chennai because I am at the fourth position for walkins in Chennai. Combine this with Point no.2 and I have a really big problem on my hand.
- Getting to #1 position becomes even more important: If you try some of the competitive terms like ‘hostgator discount’ with instant on, you will be greeted with the following screen. As you can see, after the suggest box and adwords advertisement, only 1-2 results are visible to the user.
Previously either the suggest box or the advertisements were visible at any point of time and hence a larger number of results were visible to the user without scrolling down. The user will rather select the next option which is ‘hostgator discount code’ rather than scrolling down.
- Meta descriptions become important: All these years we have been advising people not to worry about the meta description too much. That has changed significantly. Well actually it is the snippet that has become more important. However most of the time the snippet is created from the meta description and hence the time you spend in drafting an attractive meta description will be more than worth it.
- Google suggest as an important keyword research tool: Keywords like walkins in Chennai and walkins in Hyderabad etc will not beat the term walkins in any of the traditional keywords. The localization of keywords means that even if your website dominates the head word (walkins), it will be overshadowed by another website targeting each of those long tail keywords separately.
The impact of google instant will continue to become more significant as the instant search is rolled out for more and more users. That makes it really important for all SEOs to have a proper plan of action for taking advantage of such situations. The points above are some of my initial thoughts/ observations on the topic. Please share yours in the comments section.