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Google Instant, SEO and news publishers

Google Instant, SEO and news publishers

Google has announced a "new search enhancement that shows results as you type." Promising to save users some seconds during each search, instant search is a partial delivery on Eric Schmidt's prediction that Google is going to tell people what they want. However, speculations abound as to whether instant search means the end of SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO has become something newspapers cannot ignore, as they endeavor to make sure their websites get sufficient traffic. Ad-profits aside, newspapers have a duty to pass along information and without awareness of search engine skills, this goal is not likely to be achieved. Content farms understand this strategy, which is why they have grown big enough to be considered threats to traditional news outlets.

According to The Steve Rubel Stream, Google Instant has "killed" SEO. "Once a single search would do the trick - and everyone saw the same results. That's what made search engine optimization work. Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback." He believes feedback is going to make user behaviour more unpredictable. "When you get feedback, you change your behaviors," he wrote. Furthermore, "Google Instant means no one will see the same web anymore, making optimizing it virtually impossible." Search, Rubel believes, has become a personalized thing, no longer tweakable.

Megan Keane disagrees with him, writing on Econsultancy that Google Instant will change, not kill SEO techniques. Rubel's "fears are a bit premature," she responded, emphasizing that "Google's search delivery is only as good as what's available online." Faster results therefore, don't mean SEO is going anywhere. However, she hints from a Google quote that headline prioritization will need modifications. "You may find that certain keywords receive significantly more or fewer impressions moving forward," Google stated.

On the Nine By Blue blog, Vanessa Fox thinks the 'SEO death' is a bit exaggerated. Search engines work not on basis of uniform results, but because they can crawl through websites. She reminds publishers that "everyone searches," and has some advise to help these publishers keep appearing on search results. Firstly, by ensuring a website is 'search-friendly,' and secondly, by "understanding the needs of your audience."

News publishers do not have to be worried, if like Fox says: "building valuable sites that meet searcher needs will only continue to grow in importance."

Source: Nine By Blue, The Steve Rubel Stream, Econsultancy, Google.com



Dawn Osakue


2010-09-09 13:43

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