Search engine optimization is a process which gives websites higher rankings based on certain keywords that the user employs to conduct a search. Previous to the introduction of Google Instant, a user would enter a search term and then allow the search engine to begin listing results. However, Google Instant searches simultaneously as the person is typing. For example, if a person begins typing “new” the search engine may display results for “New York City.” As the person enters more information, the search engine refines the displayed results letter by letter, anticipating what the person is searching for.
This technology will have a significant impact on search engine optimization, especially for small businesses. Although refining the keywords that are associated with a company’s website into the most popular and concise form possible has always been important, Google instant amplifies the need for even tighter and more concise phraseology. Businesses also need to consider how they might alter their keywords so that they will appear in searches in which they may not have previously appeared. Because Google instant predicts what a person is going to enter, businesses may be able to capitalize on search engine optimization by emphasizing seemingly unrelated keywords that will cause their website to appear. A pizza company, for example, may want to spend money on the keyword ‘pi,’ even though this has traditionally been a mathematical term.
The particular industry of the small business will also impact how the company approaches search engine optimization. Those companies which have an exceedingly specific market, such as the reproduction of antique style grandfather clocks from 1850’s Germany, is probably going to fare about the same as it always has in search engine optimization. Those individuals who are interested in a specific item are not going to be diverted easily.
However, small businesses that sell a more generic product, such as broomsticks, will have to work much harder at search engine optimization. Although geolocation plays a role in minimizing the number of possible results, generic businesses will still have to focus on buying up individual strings of letters most commonly associated with their products in order to maximize their search engine optimization. The best strategy for search engine optimization in the age of Google Instant is to understand specifically what the company is selling, how fierce the competition is, and how likely it is that people will spend additional time typing in detailed search terms.