Search marketers have been speculating as to what effect Google Instant will have on their SEM and SEO campaigns. The new interface, which Google launched at the beginning of September, predicts a user’s query as they type, while showing instantly updated search results. According to Google’s official blog post  on the subject, the goal in providing users with more “immediate feedback” is to enable them “ to refine their searches more quickly and find the results that more precisely match what they need.”
The blog post continues on to describe the three core features of Google Instant as:
- Dynamic Results – Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
- Predictions – One of the key technologies in Google Instant is the prediction of the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing.
- Scroll to Search – Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as users arrow down.
Countless predictions have been made as to how Google Instant will effect SEO, SEM, mobile search, search volume and usability. Of these predictions the one that stands out as important (and obvious) is the increase of impression volume. Once an easily defined metric within search marketing, an ‘ad impression’ has been complicated by instant search.
As The Search Agency explains in our recent white paper “Google Instant: Impact on SEM and SEO,”  “With a new search results page appearing with every keystroke, the concept of an “ad impression” required a new definition. Now, Google counts an ad impression when a user does one of the following things:
- Presses enter to execute a search
- Clicks on ‘search’
- Clicks on a specific result
- Clicks on a suggestion
- Clicks on a refinement option
- Pauses for three seconds or more
POSSIBLE IMPACT ON SEM CAMPAIGNS
Since Google counts the impression if the user presses Enter or stops typing after three seconds, we were concerned about the possibility of increased ad impressions (and clicks) based on the search results that would display when partially spelled keywords were typed in by the user. We decided to run a test on one of our accounts advertising vacations in Cancun. We added the following partially spelled keywords on exact match to measure impression, click, and conversion volume:
After collecting about 3 weeks of data, the results have been inconclusive. The partially spelled keywords received less than 10 impressions each with no clicks or conversions attributed to them. For now, it looks like non-brand related keywords may not be impacted by Google Instant. However, it is possible that more Brand related keywords may receive different results from Google Instant.
Are you seeing similar results for your campaigns?
- Google Instant: Advertising on Partially Spelled Keywords  - October 5, 2010