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Is Your Blog SEO, Google Instant Search Ready?

Is Your Blog SEO, Google Instant Search Ready?

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.

walkins 550x262

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Getting to #1 position becomes even more important: If you try some of the competitive terms like ‘hostgator discountwith 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.
hostgator discoujt 550x318

Hostgator Discount

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Vincent Chow

    Not only the instant search is affecting the entire ecosystem, even the search preview showing website thumbnails, though not as significant, has some impact too.

    New headaches for established websites, but new opportunities for newcomers.

    Reply
  • contacthello

    @Jens,

    That comment could have been a complete post and would have been an awesome post. Thanks a lot for sharing the insight.

    Reply
  • Jens P. Berget

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    To me, Google Instant Search has changed two things; First, the importance of long tail keywords. If people search for one keyword, like marketing, in a second we get marketing plans, marketing jobs, marketing tutorials, marketing plan template. One word is not enough anymore.

    Second; Google Instant Search changes what people are searching for. Usually, when I search Google now, I end up with a different search than I was going to do, because I get all the alternatives. I find better searches (or just different, that I find interesting). I end up clicking on them instead of completing the search I had decided to do.

    What we need to do, is find out the alternatives that will end up on the Google Instant Search list, when people type in your keyword. And try to cover the list with long tail keywords.

    Reply
  • Nihar

    Sitakanta,

    Nice post depicting how Instant feature is make you go behind. There might be cases where some sites might be getting benefited right.

    All the best for your future tweaks to your walkins site so that you also get traffic from chennai and other cities where you are lagging.

    PS: Do you remember me? We both use to be active commentators in our respective blogs.

    Reply
    • contacthello

      Hi Nihar,

      Thanks for the wishes. Obviously I remember you man. As you can see from the state of my blog, I have been busy and neglecting blogging. I am back now and will contact you soon.

      Reply
  • Geet | Create-a-Rainbow

    Sitakanta, you’ve made a point here or say you’ve brought something new to our notice. Google Instant is quite new & it may take some time before we can say anything for sure.

    Reply
    • contacthello

      Most of us are not able to say anything for sure about basic google search even after so many years ;-). So I will not pretend to know everything about the topic. The idea is to be conscious of the changes that are happening so as to enable our blogs to take advantage of them.

      Reply
  • Juniorhero

    Good article. Thanks for the share. are you sure every googler has enabled Instant?

    Reply
    • contacthello

      That is why I say in the last paragraph that “The impact of google instant will continue to become more significant as the instant search is rolled out for more and more users”.

      Even now when I use google.co.in to do search instant is not enabled unless I am logged into my google account. On the other hand Google.com has it enabled always.

      Btw, please remember that instant is an opt out feature i.e over a period of time google will enable for all the users and the ones that do not like it will have to explicitly opt out of it. So we can safely assume that most people will have instant on over period of time.

      Reply
  • contacthello

    @Nityin,

    Agreed and that is sort of the idea of the change. However if you happen to run the big site in your niche then you need to make some adjustments to ensure that your site does not get hurt.

    Reply
  • Rahul

    Nice I checked the keywords. Still walkin niche is huge. Why don’t you try to optimize your website to all major 20-30 cities… This if can optimize it for all you will get 10times more traffic in future. Right now it is giving info for only 4-5 cities.

    Reply
    • contacthello

      @Rahul,

      Thanks for the suggestion and that is what I should be doing. I have been guilty of neglecting this old site of mine since I had found a number of better paying niches and I had limited time.

      Recently I have left my job to concentrate on long term businesses and mywalkin is going to play an important role in that. So expect to see more posts about my fight back.

      Reply
  • Binoy Xavier

    Interesting and bit confused about the present situation. What will happen to budding blogs out there? Will Google Instant play the spoil sport? Will Bing and Yahoo become significant now? Enlighten me.

    Reply
    • contacthello

      @Binoy,

      Google instant is not playing spoil sport. It has just changed the rule of the game a little. Previously we used to target a few keywords, get into the top 10 and then live happily :) Now we need to target more localized versions of the same keyword and target to hit top 1-2 positions for those keywords.

      Change is actually good for new comers because most of the larger sites will take longer to realize what is happening since these keywords are too small for them.

      Reply
  • NITYIN

    This is good news for local small businesses as till now overly optimized sites used to dominate the first page rankings.

    Reply

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