What is Google instant?

What is Google instant? And what are the implications for SEO, if any? Here’s a quick run-down of Google’s new search enhancement facility.

About Google Instant

Google Instant speeds up search using predictive text, rather like mobile ‘phone predictive text.  What happens? Say I type the letter ‘a’ into the search box as usual. Google instant delivers a list of predicted words. Why? Google reckons you can shave 2-5 seconds off your search times. Here’s an example. The first five predictive results returned by Google instant when I type ‘a’ are:

  • Argos
  • Amazon
  • Asda
  • Asos
  • AutoTrader

You might have noticed the list above isn’t in alphabetical order. Instead it’s based on the relative probability of someone searching for those businesses when beginning their search with an ‘a’.

The more letters you type into the search box, the closer Google instant gets to your intended destination. I started with an ‘a’. Say I’m actually searching for Animal, who make surfing gear.  By the time I’ve typed ‘ani’ Animal comes top. I just click on it to get the usual Google search results.

At the moment unless you’re on a Google domain, Google instant is only available if you’re signed in to a Google account… assuming you have one. That’s actually a very small proportion of total searchers.

Do you need to take SEO action? No. Google assures us that instant has absolutely no impact on the ranking of search results. Apart from that, there are probably far too few people using it right now to make any kind of action commercially worthwhile.

If you want to see how it works, create yourself a Google account and have a go.