Google introduced its latest version of internet fast food last week, aka, Google Instant. Its less filling but tastes great folks! Seriously, though, the amount of teeth gnashing and heart trembling
that proceeded this announcement was truly comical. The horror of it all. The end of SEO. Death of the web. The burial of search… none of it true. In fact, the salient bits of this “news” have been appearing, albeit individually for some time now over at the GooglePlex.
I perform a lot of search queries every day in the course of our business. I was happy to see that turning off Instant was very easy to do and took advantage of the offer quite quickly. Frankly, Instant, for me, was just adding more distraction to my “experience”.
Amongst all the worry, one thing has become apparent to me in the past few days: correct, well planned Search Engine Optimization is now more important than ever. Instant really is what fast food is to dining; designed for the masses. It herds the unknowing crowd down a very narrow path of the most popular search terms. In essence, it’s attempt to “keep the line moving” will and is consolidating the important search terms people use to find what you have to offer. Will it replace the trend of search queries becoming more and more words over the past several years? You bet! Is that good? Not particularly, if you are a small business in a mass market.
The obvious side benefit to Google, at least to me, is that this prodding will have more consumers staring at the most competitive results which in turn could produce more profits for BigG in the paid search arena. The most popular terms tend to be the most expensive AdWords. “Do no evil but be sneaky” might be a better mission statement for this juggernaut now.
What does this mean for those of you competing for search results traffic? The game just got tougher. The most popular terms are extremely hard to achieve and maintain. It requires a long term plan of optimization, creation of content and development of worthwhile inbound links. If you are not producing all three of these factors in preponderance on your web site your success potential will be greatly diminished.
So SEO is not dead. Search is still happening. The playing field just got tweaked in favor of the referees. I get mad when an important game is decided by the referee. But we all have to work with what we are given. If you have let your SEO plan languish. It’s time to do something about it.