Marketing Strategy

The Sky is Falling: A New To-Do List in the Wake of Google Instant

September 20, 2010 Posted In: Marketing Strategy Comments: 0

Caleb LevellThis is a guest post by Caleb Levell, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. His interests include search and social marketing, online collaboration, and social media for business and non-profit organizations. He blogs at PPC Hero and SEO Boy.

When I was in college (not so long ago), I had quite the morning routine. Most important to the routine, I never scheduled a class before 11:15 AM. Of course, this gave me time to sleep in, eat breakfast, and do any last-minute studying. Yes, my schedule was set and my daily to-dos were outlined.

Eventually though, it all has to come crashing down. Real life came faster than expected and I had a job. Quick lesson for any of our college readers: Most jobs start at 8 or 9 AM. Thus, my morning routine was ruined. Worst of all, no more breakfast -- goodbye eggs, goodbye bacon, and goodbye pancakes.

The first few weeks were a struggle, but eventually came the day when I found Instant Breakfast, a breakfast drink that provides the nutrients I need in the morning. This changed everything. Breakfast as I knew it was in the past, and well it should be. This was convenient, fast, and chocolate! Why should I even waste my time with all the preparation and efforts of regular cooking? Isn’t this drink providing everything that is relevant to me without any work? Should I stop with these questions and make it even more obvious? With Instant Breakfast, you can forget SEO (Sausage, Eggs, and Orange Juice).

Debate about Google Instant has fueled conversation in the blogosphere this week and speculation goes as far to say that this is the killer of Search Engine Optimization (although Google’s VP of Search Products and User experience, Marissa Mayer, seems to disagree). However, just like I still enjoy a complete breakfast in the morning, my daily SEO routine had not changed too drastically when I woke up this morning. Of course, I’m adjusting and preparing for new ways to market to an evolving search audience, but the SEO fundamentals remain vital to my daily tasks.

So, I come to you with tips on how to maintain SEO fundamentals, even when blogs are buzzing with the latest hype and it seems like the sky is falling around you.

1) Content – Now more than ever, content is king. The presence of Twitter, Facebook, and now Google Instant continues feeding Web users’ needs for immediate, relevant, and fresh information. Meet the demands of your audience by freshening up Website content and embed RSS feeds into Web pages where possible. RSS feeds for blogs, Twitter accounts, or Facebook accounts, provide a sense of relevant and timely information about your product or brand. 

2) Rank – With Google Instant, your PageRank on Google has become significantly more important. The chance that a searcher may alter their search term means your optimization must be clean, your keywords must be focused, and meta descriptions need to provide concise benefits and strengths of your products. Also, with Google Instant, a first page rank is essential and you may need to more effort on your SEO as it will be extremely rewarding to be above the fold. Take time learning the industry specific suggested terms that are unique to your target keywords, brand, and products.

3) Adjust Goals – Google has warned that a rise in search query impressions is likely. Make Google Analytics your best friend for a couple of weeks and log any changes to your typical daily or weekly results. If the new statistics remain consistent, consider adjusting your goals to meet the new trend.

4) Social Media – Quite frankly, Google Instant seems like another technology to bring more attention back to Google and away from the social newcomers. Google is still the Web giant, but don’t get so caught up in Google Instant and SEO and forget about any of your social optimizations. The lines of online marketing are blurring and a well-rounded digital marketing campaign is your best bet to succeed.

5) Inform Clients – For the SEO professionals out there, schedule some time and call or email your clients to let them know of Google’s new search tool and how it impacts their SEO campaigns. Clients are going to be worried and understandably so. Therefore, this would be a good time to manage their expectations and to calm any of their worries. It is also probably best to be proactive in the case, instead of trying to react to a client’s concern.

As you can see, my to-do list hasn’t changed too much. Personally, I believe some of the early predictions about Google Instant have a severe case of macromyopia, overestimating the short-term significance of this change in search, but underestimated the long-term effects. The SEO and SEM industry is constantly changing and with added pressure from alternating online marketing platforms, particularly social media marketing, SEO professional are well aware the game is changing. In fact, a morning in the SEO & SEM industry when the sky isn’t falling would make for a very uneasy morning for me. The Search Alliance, Google Caffeine, and Google Instant are just the latest batch of industry changes and improvements that are keeping us on our toes.  

It won’t be long before we know how well Google Instant performs and how well it is received. Google will pull in a lot of data to analyze in a short amount of time, and it probably isn’t out of the question that they’ll make some tweaks and adjustments to their latest creation. As for the rest of us, take a deep breath, stick to the fundamentals, and Google Instant won’t ruin your day!

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