Google Instant is fairly revolutionary in regards to how it changes search engine optimization and search engine marketing. For those of you unfamiliar with Google Instant, here's a brief roundup:
Instead of waiting until you type your entire search, Google will predict what you're typing and change the search results in real time as you type. Google claims it will decrease the amount of time it takes a user to find the content they're looking for by as much as 2.5 seconds and will change the way people use search.
But there's not much talk about how this is going to effectsearch engine marketing. So here goes.
Google has already communicated with its search marketing partners explaining, "With [Google Instant], you might notice some fluctuations in impression volume. For example, you may find that certain keywords receive significantly more or less impressions moving forward. Despite any change in impressions, Google Instant is intended to increase the quality of the clicks on your ads and therefore boost your overall campaign performance." (here's a link to the Inside Adwords blog regarding Google Instant)
Disclaiming that Google Instant is intended to increase quality immediately following an announcement of impression fluctuations, clearly leads me to believe that this isn't going to be good for Adwords campaigns. Displaying ads based on partial searches can only hurt search engine marketing. Here's an example:
Google gives a very specific example when someone types 'flo' into a search engine, Google will start delivering Adwords ads for 'flowers.'
Continue typing and add a 'c' to your search (now 'flowc') and Google will now start delivering Adwords ads for 'flowcharts.'
Now, if someone was searching for 'flowcell,' Adwords ads targeting keywords flowers and flowchart would receive ad impressions for a user that had no intention of making that search.
To see how this will effectthe auto industry, think about a Honda dealer who starts receiving impressions for people intending to search for keywords like honey, honeybaked ham, honolulu, honig vs. doe, honorarium or honus wager. If I spent a little time on this project, I'm sure I could find hundreds of high volume keywords that would trigger a Honda dealer's ad to display.
And here's why this matters. Every Adwords keyword is given a quality score by Google. The quality score is a major factor in determining where ads rank and how much they cost. A significant factor in calculating quality scores is the keyword's click through ratio (a percentage calculated by the following formula: number of clicks / number of impressions). Adding unwanted impressions will lower the click through ratio and in turn hurt quality scores. One of strongest search engine marketing optimization techniques is to reduce unwanted impressions to increase quality scores. As of now, Google provides no options for search marketers to account for unwanted impressions delivered through Google Instant.
High level, common keywords appear to be the most vunerable to unwanted impression delivery. The saving graces here are that high level keywords typically don't garner good quality scores and competitors vying for the same keyword would have equally negative effects.
We're keeping a watchful eye on our impression fluctuations and are requesting an Adwords setting to remove an ad from being delivered via Instant.
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