Chris Penn ( I think it was Chris ) thinks that because instant response will distract the searcher Google Instant will disadvantage long-tail keywords .
I disagree. Presumably the reason Google Instant is so cool is the quickness of response time. In economic terms this means the “cost” of a search (measured in time) is now cheaper than ever. Therefore, we might see an increase in overall searching AND an increase in the number of terms submitted per search.
An example: Yesterday I was looking for some obscure WordPress documentation and instead of doing one brilliant search and promptly getting lost down the rabbit hole of links in the WordPress Trac. I tried three or four different keyword combination (in less time than it use to take to perform one search!) and was able to judge which keyword combination gave me the best results.
Granted I’m an advanced user, but I suspect Google Instant may in fact give more novice users a better understanding of how to piece together keywords and phrases to find what they are looking for faster. This means, GI could be a great boon to long-tail keywords.
To the extent Google Instant will have an impact, it will be making the top five search results even more important than they already were. Why? Because it’s now easier for me to perform another, more targeted search than it is for me to scroll down the page.
I can’t wait til they start reading minds.