Google Instant: 6 Months Later (Live Blog)

google instant live blog #smx 2011 #1b2Google has been adding forms of seach suggestions into its process for a couple of years, but when it rolled out Google Instant 6 months ago, the calls of “SEO is Dead” rang loudly. People thought Google Instant would dramatically change the search game and make SEO much less relevant. Turns out, SEO is still important but Google Instant can have significant impacts from a brand perspective (e.g when a negative suggestion such as “scam” or “coupons” are always paired with a brand name), can impact Adwords accounts (some accounts can have their conversions or CTR fall off) and there are other impacts. In this occasionally heated discussion, you’ll hear (or read) the Google perspective as well as the SEO and Adwords consultants’ viewpoint.

(SMX Description: When Google rolled out Google Instant results, delivering actual search results and ads as you type, search marketers were unsure of what to expect, and what (if anything) would have to change going forward. This session takes an in-depth look at Google Instant’s impact on search results, using hard data to detailing the effects of on clickthrough rates, searcher behavior and other key metrics, with a focus on what marketers need to know to maximize performance in this new world of search results.)

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Q&A Moderator: Disa Johnson, CEO, SearchReturn

Speakers:

Erez Barak, VP of Product, Optify
Anthony Coleman, Paid Search Manager, Search Influence
Othar Hansson, Senior Staff Software Engineer, Google
Avi Wilensky, ceo, founder, Promediacorp

  Google Instant: 6 Months Later (Live Blog) (03/08/2011) 
10:53
Danny Sullivan – Google Instant wasn’t the slaughter as predicted. SEO isn’t dead

Othar Hansson – Google Instant – semiannual report
– Google – this will break our internal systems!

Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:53 
10:55
Google – interested in speed – browsers faster, serve results faster, selecting results
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:55 
10:55
That is underlying reason for google instant
– when we make search faster – people happy
– when we make search slower – people unhappy
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:55 
10:57
Google instant always predicts a full query and gives you a full results page based on that query (including ads)
– easier for user
– easier for ranking team
– easier for advertisers
– if users click on ad for flowers, they wanted flowers
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:57 
10:58
4 main results for google instant – user perspective
-auto complete
– scroll to search
– keyword nav
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:58 
10:59
Focus on the user and all else will follow – old google motto
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:59 
10:59
Advertisers:
– google users click on ads
– instant results are based on predictive query
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:59 
11:00
Webmasters
– have good content, crawled well, ranks well
– basics – same advice been giving for 10 years
– think about words users will use to search for your info
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:00 
11:02
9/8 – 6 European countries
Sept – dec: canada, mexico, more European countries, keyboard nav
Ongoing as opt-in – Chrome Instant and Instant on Mobile
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:02 
11:03
Impression counts may change – go up a bit
– but clicks probably won’t change
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:03 
11:03
Chrome – go into preferences, Basics – Search – click box to enable Instant
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:03 
11:05
If user types NET – put multiple words starting with net? No. Put groups of possible words? Too hard – have look at too much info
Did eye-tracking – focus on input box and auto complete first
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:05 
11:05
Model they settled on is one search result
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:05 
11:05
Made search more like an application – results by javascript and rendered to you – don’t have major refresh of page
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:05 
11:07
Still optimizing the algorithms and predictions for Google Instant
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:07 
11:07
Now the SEOs
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:07 
11:07
Danny Sullivant:
– google popularity – number of machines in Google following your project shows how popular your project is
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:07 
11:09
Google had auto-complete for about 2 years. but minute regular consumers became aware, a big thing
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:09 
11:09
Google instant connecting concepts and giving you suggestions
– e.g. skydiving and death – can be an issue
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:09 
11:11
Representative from Promedia corp
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:11 
11:12
Google suggestions connect complaints and example customer’s site
With launch of Instant, these complaints start showing up on SERPs
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:12 
11:13
Continues to try to do things to bury the complaints and optimize his site to break this connection
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:13 
11:14
It turns out that a big driver of what people see in predictive search is derived from actual queries
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:14 
11:14
Did experiments to crowdsource and get query volumes up – did his name avi wilensky “tycoon”, “rock star”, etc.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:14 
11:15
Figured out that – run queries and maybe we can solve the problem
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:15 
11:16
The results lasted for a couple of months while people doing the queries. And some stick around longer
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:16 
11:16
Can build crowds to run queries – demand media style – can pay people (may need to do this if high volume terms)
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:16 
11:17
Other examples where predictive search can be problematic
– e.g. adobe photoshop – shows “free download” as first suggestion
– seo….”seo is dead”, “seo is bullshit”, etc.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:17 
11:18
Other examples where google suggest can hurt businesses:
social media is a cocktail party
seo book torrent
photoshop cs5 torrent
adsense scam
etc.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:18 
11:20
Type in Miley Cyrus – google suggest will show some not such good things
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:20 
11:21
Erez Abrak:
Google Instant – SEO issues and user behavior
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:21 
11:22
Got a lot of questions – we’re using optify but SEO is dead so why should I keep using?
Decided to take a data driven approach
prediction source
visitors
keyword diversity
organic CTR
user’s POV
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:22 
11:24
W A P X Y
Type W in instant – “weather”, walmart, wikileaks, wells fargo
A – “amazon”, aol, apple, att, a
P – pandora, pge, paypal, pizza hut, p (sometimes personalized!)
X – xbox, xbox live, xkcd, xfinity, x
Y – youtube, yahoo, yahoo mail, yelp, y
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:24 
11:24
Takeaway – customers want to get into predictions
– see predictions, popular, local, personalized
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:24 
11:24
Not a lot of content
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:24 
11:26
Where are visitors coming from – Google.com – instant – growing – from 46.62% to 48.91%
Google.com – standard – 39.95% to 38.89%
Mobile – 1.35% to 1.60% – +18% – biggest growth
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:26 
11:26
How has keyword diversity changed?
– overall diversity has not changed – small number of customers affected
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:26 
11:27
But does change for some customers
– one of his customers greatly affected
– more diversity, more long tail customers coming in
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:27 
11:29
Click Though Rate:
– Head terms yield higher CTR for first position
– Long Tail shows better overall CTR on page one
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:29 
11:30
Heat map – slight difference but not major difference
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:30 
11:31
Predictions, not always most popular terms, keyword diversity hasn’t changed much, track your CTR and Traffic
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:31 
11:31
Anthony Colement – Search Influence
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:31 
11:33
Negative impact of Google Instant:
google search for the ADHD Generation
– dog sweaters, show, supplies, etc.
– can distract you from true intent

34c breast
– size, pictures, implants, photo, etc.

Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:33 
11:33
Can impact sites – can receive major drop even with no change in position locally
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:33 
11:35
Combat this impact in adwords:
– do instant keyword mining
– dentist bould, densist boulde, boulder dentis
– add in related keywords
– add in more negative keywords
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:35 
11:36
Geo-targeting:
Target multiple locations, not just Metro areas
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:36 
11:36
Can do more exact match words, etc and less geo terms with broader geo area
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:36 
11:38
Conversion rate can fall off with Google Instant:
– fix – scrape google adwords for new keywords, broader geo-targeting
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:38 
11:39
Danny Sullivan – Q&A session
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:39 
11:41
Danny – suggestions are so different depending on who you are and where you’re at
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:41 
11:42
If you type “a” you’ll get a different result if you’re in different locations
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:42 
11:42
e.g. “w” near Walmart HQ will deliver Walmart not Weather
– results are localized and personalized
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:42 
11:44
View trying to manipulate autocomplete results as abuse – take this seriously
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:44 
11:45
If Google doesn’t give an option to connect and address Google Instant issues, people will turn to SEO community. There’s no great way to get support from Google. Applause
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:45 
11:46
Google – if you invite scrutiny, who knows what the results will be. If you focus on good content, you shouldn’t be concerned
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:46 
11:46
Searching for “scam is legitimate”, e.g. there is no “SMX scam”
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:46 
11:46
Danny – thanks a lot for crowdsourcing that suggestion – don’t do it!
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:46 
11:47
Don’t include pornographic or hate speach against protected groups (Danny – why not hate against anyone), incitement to violence, etc.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:47 
11:48
Torrents have been removed by not synonyms – e.g. gay movie out but not gay film
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:48 
11:49
Trying to protect children first
– “scam” is a secondary priority
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:49 
11:50
Danny – in the perfect world, what would you want (to Avi Wilensky)?
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:50 
11:50
If we can slow down speed to do more fact checking – stronger connection with serps and content on page
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:50 
11:51
Othar Hansson, Google – lots that goes into algorithm. All other signals have to force something out to overcome something
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:51 
11:52
Danny – did you use mechanical turk?
Avi – no, mechanical turk is a violation of terms and it’s behind log-in wall
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:52 
11:55
Not in all countries now
– browser search boxes – only chrome shows instant
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:55 
11:55
Not in Japan yet
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:55 
11:56
Can a brand opt out of its brand terms in Google Instant – no
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:56 
11:57
Focusing your ad to only show up in certain predictive searches can drop Adwords cost per click (which had spiked in some cases)
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:57 
11:58
Can’t easily remove “promotion code” from a brand search – not really
Tuesday March 8, 2011 11:58 
12:00

 

 

 
 

Here’s the transcript without Scrolling

10:53
Danny Sullivan – Google Instant wasn’t the slaughter as predicted. SEO isn’t dead
Othar Hansson – Google Instant – semiannual report
– Google – this will break our internal systems!
10:55
Google – interested in speed – browsers faster, serve results faster, selecting results
10:55
That is underlying reason for google instant
– when we make search faster – people happy
– when we make search slower – people unhappy
10:57
Google instant always predicts a full query and gives you a full results page based on that query (including ads)
– easier for user
– easier for ranking team
– easier for advertisers
– if users click on ad for flowers, they wanted flowers
10:58
4 main results for google instant – user perspective
-auto complete
– scroll to search
– keyword nav
10:59
Focus on the user and all else will follow – old google motto
10:59
Advertisers:
– google users click on ads
– instant results are based on predictive query
11:00
Webmasters
– have good content, crawled well, ranks well
– basics – same advice been giving for 10 years
– think about words users will use to search for your info
11:02
9/8 – 6 European countries
Sept – dec: canada, mexico, more European countries, keyboard nav
Ongoing as opt-in – Chrome Instant and Instant on Mobile
11:03
Impression counts may change – go up a bit
– but clicks probably won’t change
11:03
Chrome – go into preferences, Basics – Search – click box to enable Instant
11:05
If user types NET – put multiple words starting with net? No. Put groups of possible words? Too hard – have look at too much info
Did eye-tracking – focus on input box and auto complete first
11:05
Model they settled on is one search result
11:05
Made search more like an application – results by javascript and rendered to you – don’t have major refresh of page
11:07
Still optimizing the algorithms and predictions for Google Instant
11:07
Now the SEOs
11:07
Danny Sullivant:
– google popularity – number of machines in Google following your project shows how popular your project is
11:09
Google had auto-complete for about 2 years. but minute regular consumers became aware, a big thing
11:09
Google instant connecting concepts and giving you suggestions
– e.g. skydiving and death – can be an issue
11:11
Representative from Promedia corp
11:12
Google suggestions connect complaints and example customer’s site
With launch of Instant, these complaints start showing up on SERPs
11:13
Continues to try to do things to bury the complaints and optimize his site to break this connection
11:14
It turns out that a big driver of what people see in predictive search is derived from actual queries
11:14
Did experiments to crowdsource and get query volumes up – did his name avi wilensky “tycoon”, “rock star”, etc.
11:15
Figured out that – run queries and maybe we can solve the problem
11:16
The results lasted for a couple of months while people doing the queries. And some stick around longer
11:16
Can build crowds to run queries – demand media style – can pay people (may need to do this if high volume terms)
11:17
Other examples where predictive search can be problematic
– e.g. adobe photoshop – shows “free download” as first suggestion
– seo….”seo is dead”, “seo is bullshit”, etc.
11:18
Other examples where google suggest can hurt businesses:
social media is a cocktail party
seo book torrent
photoshop cs5 torrent
adsense scam
etc.
11:20
Type in Miley Cyrus – google suggest will show some not such good things
11:21
Erez Abrak:
Google Instant – SEO issues and user behavior
11:22
Got a lot of questions – we’re using optify but SEO is dead so why should I keep using?
Decided to take a data driven approach
prediction source
visitors
keyword diversity
organic CTR
user’s POV
11:24
W A P X Y
Type W in instant – “weather”, walmart, wikileaks, wells fargo
A – “amazon”, aol, apple, att, a
P – pandora, pge, paypal, pizza hut, p (sometimes personalized!)
X – xbox, xbox live, xkcd, xfinity, x
Y – youtube, yahoo, yahoo mail, yelp, y
11:24
Takeaway – customers want to get into predictions
– see predictions, popular, local, personalized
11:24
Not a lot of content
11:26
Where are visitors coming from – Google.com – instant – growing – from 46.62% to 48.91%
Google.com – standard – 39.95% to 38.89%
Mobile – 1.35% to 1.60% – +18% – biggest growth
11:26
How has keyword diversity changed?
– overall diversity has not changed – small number of customers affected
11:27
But does change for some customers
– one of his customers greatly affected
– more diversity, more long tail customers coming in
11:29
Click Though Rate:
– Head terms yield higher CTR for first position
– Long Tail shows better overall CTR on page one
11:30
Heat map – slight difference but not major difference
11:31
Predictions, not always most popular terms, keyword diversity hasn’t changed much, track your CTR and Traffic
11:31
Anthony Colement – Search Influence
11:33
Negative impact of Google Instant:
google search for the ADHD Generation
– dog sweaters, show, supplies, etc.
– can distract you from true intent

 

34c breast
– size, pictures, implants, photo, etc.
11:33
Can impact sites – can receive major drop even with no change in position locally
11:35
Combat this impact in adwords:
– do instant keyword mining
– dentist bould, densist boulde, boulder dentis
– add in related keywords
– add in more negative keywords
11:36
Geo-targeting:
Target multiple locations, not just Metro areas
11:36
Can do more exact match words, etc and less geo terms with broader geo area
11:38
Conversion rate can fall off with Google Instant:
– fix – scrape google adwords for new keywords, broader geo-targeting
11:39
Danny Sullivan – Q&A session
11:41
Danny – suggestions are so different depending on who you are and where you’re at
11:42
If you type “a” you’ll get a different result if you’re in different locations
11:42
e.g. “w” near Walmart HQ will deliver Walmart not Weather
– results are localized and personalized
11:44
View trying to manipulate autocomplete results as abuse – take this seriously
11:45
If Google doesn’t give an option to connect and address Google Instant issues, people will turn to SEO community. There’s no great way to get support from Google. Applause
11:46
Google – if you invite scrutiny, who knows what the results will be. If you focus on good content, you shouldn’t be concerned
11:46
Searching for “scam is legitimate”, e.g. there is no “SMX scam”
11:46
Danny – thanks a lot for crowdsourcing that suggestion – don’t do it!
11:47
Don’t include pornographic or hate speach against protected groups (Danny – why not hate against anyone), incitement to violence, etc.
11:48
Torrents have been removed by not synonyms – e.g. gay movie out but not gay film
11:49
Trying to protect children first
– “scam” is a secondary priority
11:50
Danny – in the perfect world, what would you want (to Avi Wilensky)?
11:50
If we can slow down speed to do more fact checking – stronger connection with serps and content on page
11:51
Othar Hansson, Google – lots that goes into algorithm. All other signals have to force something out to overcome something
11:52
Danny – did you use mechanical turk?
Avi – no, mechanical turk is a violation of terms and it’s behind log-in wall
11:55
Not in all countries now
– browser search boxes – only chrome shows instant
11:55
Not in Japan yet
11:56
Can a brand opt out of its brand terms in Google Instant – no
11:57
Focusing your ad to only show up in certain predictive searches can drop Adwords cost per click (which had spiked in some cases)
11:58
Can’t easily remove “promotion code” from a brand search – not really

Go to:
http://www.directionseo.com/blog/
(to get access to other sessions)