Google Instant Profits

Today Google launched a new feature to its search interface – Google Instant – displaying search results as you type. The controversy on whether this feature has killed or will kill SEO has already started, as one would expect.

Google’s claim for this enhancement is that it radically improves the speed of search whilst not losing the relevance of the results – see their post on the official Google blog here. While their claim on speed is undeniable, I do disagree on the relevance factor, for Google has omitted one very important aspect of this search “enhancement” – its business purpose.

While I was impressed by the speed and the actual display of technology behind the feature, I immediately noticed that it completely changed my search behaviour and, more relevantly, the way my eyes cast the screen and visualise the displayed results. The majority of us don’t touch-type, and as you enter your search query your eyes are immediately drawn to the results present at the top of the page. You now probably start to get my point. These top-of-the-page results are all Sponsored links, i.e. paid advertising. From this perspective, nothing has changed, Google sponsored links were always displayed at the top of the page however I believe that the user’s propensity to click on them will exponentially increase with the introduction of Google Instant. This is reinforced by the fact that screens are getting smaller – not bigger as one would think – as laptop ownership now exceeds desktop. A smaller screen will immediately display the results that are right at the top: the mighty Sponsored links. And to further cement my argument, it is certainly not serendipitously that Google hinted coming improvements to its Google Adwords interface for advertisers. Below is a screenshot of the results displayed on 13″ laptop screen. Note the prevalence of sponsored links over “natural” results.

It’s important to remember that Google is not a public service. While I think that, given the monopoly it has acquired over search and search marketing, Google should be regulated as such, it remains a public company which purpose is to raise its market value, which it does through blatantly abusing its monopoly on worldwide search. My advice? Use Bing instead, it has better functionalities.

6 thoughts on “Google Instant Profits

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Google Instant Profits | Boris Jacquin -- Topsy.com

  2. Jose

    I totally agree with your statement and I am surprised at how very little “complaints” have come from other SEO professionals. At the same all this creates new opportunities. The jury is out and I am sure most of us are going to be glued to Analytics for the next month.

  3. Boris Jacquin Post author

    A private enterprise that has such a stronghold on what is almost as the public domain is a dangerous road in my opinion. I have heard complains from other SEOs, however I would have expected a backlash. In return all we get is passive acceptance. It seems that Facebook cannot move one finger without the whole world having something to say, whereas Google can do pretty much whatever they want, even if it’s a blatant breach of privacy. I’m amazed.

  4. Krishnamoorthy Hegde

    Good article. . . . but Bad suggestion to use bing.com,What microsoft did till now is may be do google here onwords. But google has some values,they educate users . . . Any way i don’t know much about SEO and Related Business.

  5. Boris Jacquin Post author

    Now that Bing and Yahoo have merged I don’t really see what other option there would be unfortunately. Bing offers good features for users and have worked on their UX a lot more than Google. Google’s focus is increasingly turned to profits, profits and more profits. Last evidence is the Google Keyword Tool that will only return commercially viable suggested keywords. Google are now keeping their keyword inventory to themselves, making the use of Adwords a compulsory step toward optimisation for organic results (see http://www.aimclearblog.com/2010/10/07/r-i-p-google-keyword-tool-long-live-seo/)

  6. Saleem Yaqub

    Have to agree, the Google search monopoly is bad news for all parties – users, advertisers, agencies and publishers. Hopefully BingHoo (or something) will level the playing field and give the big G a wake up call. They’ve being messing around with search a lot recently, in the last few months their has been Instant, Places, Caffeine and more ( see my blog post http://www.saleemyaqub.com/new-google-places ). They have to innovate and satisfy their shareholders with profits but if they are not careful they might inadvertently kick start an exodus to BingHoo. Their grassroots concept of ranking sites based on backlinks does not really fit with social media and bolting social media on top of PageRank is not going to work. Google Wave was a relative failure and Buzz is nowhere near Twitter. Nothing lasts forever and we will see a lot more ‘social algorithms’ and ‘recommendation engine’ type services coming out over the next few years, one of them is going to make it big.

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