Google Instant and SEO Strategy

Listened this morning to the latest “Marketing Over Coffee” and their discussion of Google Instant, the new instant results functionality you may have noticed the last time you did a Google Search.

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.

Usability Tips

Smashing Magazine has a great list of usability tips for web designers. Usability is one of those things that is often overlooked by small business and non-profits because they don’t have the resources they perceive necessary to engage in usability testing. But really, there is loads of information out there about usability that small organizations can use to make their sites as competitive as possible.

The highlights:

Tip #2: Users focus on faces

This doesn’t mean you should redesign your website into a big face, but when you are using pictures that include faces think about things like where their eyes are focused.

Tip #4: Most users don’t scroll

Which begs the question, is it better to more pages that are shorter and require less scrolling? Probably.

Tip #5: Blue is still the bet color for links.

I’m a habitual transgressor of this rule.

Tip #7: White space improves comprehension

If you were tempted after reading tip #4 to cram everything in your site into the top third of the page, well think again. Crowding a page can crowd out the user.

Read the full article.