Google Instant – What now

I spent quite a bit of time last night playing around with Google instant, and watching all the activity on Twitter. It’s always amusing to watch the “SEO is dead” brigade find a new drum to bang. But getting into the office this morning meant that actions had to start being taken, and my process is the same as it always is when Google launches something new, so I thought I would share it with you:

Inform Your Clients

While you may be well aware of what is happening, your clients won’t, and they won’t necessarily see the impact that a change like this could have for them. Let them know that they might see a drop in traffic, and what your steps are going to be over the coming weeks. Think about the possible scenarios that the change could have, and outline how you are going to deal with them. Whatever happens, if you keep your clients well informed you will avoid panic if traffic does drop over the coming weeks.

Step away from analytics

As tempting as it is to spend the next few days steeped in analytics reports, stop. The fact of the matter is that anything you see right now will not be a true reflection of how people react to this change. it might be interesting to see how many people are playing with it, but old habits die hard, and there had always been a difference between how people use new Goggle features in the short & long term. It will take at least a week for the dust to settle and for people to start using this feature the way they will going forward, so stay calm and give it time.

Don’t Panic

if you can’t resist the temptation to look at your analytics over the next few days, for goodness sake, don’t panic. Don’t make any knee jerk changes to your strategy. If you have been working with a solid rounded strategy you shouldn’t have any need to. Yes there may be a need to change where you focus your optimisation efforts over the next few months, yes you may need to go back to the drawing board with some clients, but assuming you have done step one and your clients are kept well informed there should be no need for there to be anything to panic about.

Buy a lot of salt

and take a pinch of it with everything you read about “the effect of instant”. The world and it’s wife can spend 24 hours a day analysing the hell out of possible changes and repercussions, but it will take time for even the best minds to fully understand all of the effects that this change will have. Read the speculation and information that is being put out by all means, but use your own judgements, and don’t assume that anyone has the answers.

So there you have it, my roadmap to surviving a google feature change. The short version Keep calm & Carry on!

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14 Responses to “Google Instant – What now”

  1. David says:

    Hi Sarah,

    you’re right. Stay calm. Some things might change but the people still want to find their stuff.

    Thanks for your roadmap. Don’t panic :)

  2. Chris says:

    Useful advice if you’re an in-house seo too. Should help me explain things to the boss.


  3. Franz says:

    totally agree, don’t panic. see the opportunities instead.

  4. LinkMünki says:

    Besides there is little point in panicking when instant search is only available when you’ve logged into your google account.
    I get the feeling that most of the world don’t as a rule deliberately log in before searching, this will take a while to roll out gradually. ;)

  5. MOGmartin says:

    Probably the best post Ive read so far today on the changes, out of the 173 that Ive seen!

    My takeaway, STOP reading any more of them, go get a coffee. chill out.

  6. [...] your clients traffic remains to be seen. While you shouldn’t panic, you should be prepared. Sarah Carling at SEO Chicks gives some good advice including you should explain to your clients what’s [...]

  7. LOL good strategy, ive flagged the date in analytics but like you suggest will lay off it until the buzz dies down for a real reading.

    Im concious that Suggest formats text properly i.e. women’s not womens and wonder how this will effect in the long term

    Its annoying that google is polarising searches which can only serve to drive up their PPC revenue :/

  8. [...] as friends have posted already, stay calm, and stay on the SEO course. We’ll know in a couple of weeks how this affects user [...]

  9. Saurav Rimal says:

    Nice post Sarah.

    I am not sure if the clients need to informed at this time to be honest. Because we don’t know if the traffic will actually go down or not. There is a possibility of it going down through keywords, but there is also a possibility the traffic might go up through brand search. I hope this makes sense.

    Anticipation would be to see if people will complete what they are looking for before clicking on the listing, to see if it does effect the website’s which are ranking outside top 3.

  10. Afzal Khan says:

    That’s the only solution whenever Google brings any new changes…Wait and Watch…

    Don’t panic…be calm…& let the dust settle down. Everything will be back soon. Thanks for such simple yet very informative posts.

    God Speed!

  11. [...] all the banter and confusion about the positives and negatives about Google Instant,  there is at least one common thread that [...]

  12. Brandon says:

    This might be a long shot… but if Google instant increases the number of impressions on my Adwords ads (and potentially lowering my clicks), does that mean my quality score could drop?

  13. [...] Instant Impact on Search Queries Thoughts on Google Instant Google Instant Search Experts View Google Instant What Now Google Instant Search What Do We Think Google Not So Instant in The UK How To Track Google Instant [...]

  14. [...] Link: Google Instant- What Now Much needed advice in the time of  confusion. I agree with the writer – we need to wait [...]

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