Top 5 facts B2B Marketers need to know about Google Instant

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When Google launched Instant, the new user experience paradigm for search, the whole world immediately started speculating on the implications from a user standpoint. The Internet was flooded with opinions from left to right but it mostly delved on the user side of the equation. So, what does it really spell for B2B marketers then?

For those who tuned in late – Google Instant is a new search enhancement, aimed at improving the search experience, by displaying results as you type on the fly. Obviously, the “game” changes quite a bit because you get to the results much faster than before since you don’t have to finish typing your full search term or even get to the point of pressing “search.”

b2b marketing - Google Search

Now let’s try and nibble on 5 areas where I think Google Instant would be most relevant to B2B Marketing:

  1. Long tail keywords now have less relevance. As predictive keywords take centre-stage, winners or the broad category based keywords now siphon off all the search juice. To illustrate – If you initially planned to search for “B2B Marketing Asia”, Google Instant will automatically produce results even after just typing in the first two words (“B2B Marketing”). Even without finishing your complete search parameter, relevant choices like “B2B Marketing Plan”, “B2B Marketing Strategies”, etc., will be displayed because Google Instant has figured it out for you. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that at least a portion of the users will settle for the decent and often on-the-mark serendipitous findings rather than completing the detailed long tailed keywords that they initially wanted.
  2. Marketers need to spend more time now on keyword research. The combination of user behaviour and Google’s new predictive search experience makes the exact key phrases much more important. It’s now vital for you to ascertain which keywords would prove to be the most advantageous for you and your website. Forget the pet industry terms or gobbledygook, I urge you to really spend time with keyword research tools. One useful tip would be to use Google Webmaster Tools. It has a powerful keyword research feature and the best part is that it’s FREE!
  3. Avoid CPM (Cost Per Mile or Thousand Impressions) for your Adwords SEM campaigns. You should do this for the obvious reason that impression counts may increase. Google Instant follows the “3 second rule”, i.e., AdWords will count impressions for every ad served where the user is inactive (and stops typing) for more than 3 seconds.
  4. You can still track Google Instant behaviours using Web Analytics. If you take note of the address bar while you are typing, you will notice that the query parameters are changing on the fly too. This means that you can still track relevant keyword origin using your analytics software. There’s no change in that aspect obviously and there’s no need to panic as well.
  5. Old school SEO is STILL important. First of all, Google Instant is a user experience enhancement so it is definitely not a change in Google’s search ranking algorithm. And even if the traditional concept of SEO (in terms of how it’s being done today) will inevitably shift slightly (to say the least), we won’t see any massive effect on it since Instant only works with IE 8, Safari for Mac (v.5), Firefox 3, and Chrome (v.5 and v.6). By fall of this year we would also see Google Instant working inside mobile devices but that won’t spell a major impact on SEO too. And lastly, a large portion of the users are (and will be for a while) still using out-of-date browsers.

To say the least, Google hasn’t re-invented the proverbial wheel with Google Instant.  They just added a great chapter to the story of search from user experience perspective so to speak. But as time goes by, we will slowly but surely start to feel the paradigm shifting effects of such a great change on how users utilise search. And this will of course urge us to re-think the way we would address various things like SEO, keyword research, etc.

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Paul Writer believes that there is a rich pool of innovation in B2B industries and all that is required for this potential to be unlocked is marketing. Founded by Jessie Paul, author of No Money Marketing, Paul Writer aims to be a membership platform that provides B2B marketers resources, research, insights, benchmarks and tools that will make their professional lives simpler, more efficient and richer. And make their social networking more relevant.


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