When Google launched Instant, the new user experience paradigm for search, the whole world immediately started speculating on the implications from a user standpoint. The internet was flooded with opinions from left to right but it mostly delved on the user side of the equation. So, what does it really spell for B2B Marketers then?
For those who tuned in late – Google Instant is a new search enhancement, aimed at improving user experience, which shows results even while typing on the fly. Obviously, the “game” changes quite a bit because you get to the right content much faster than before since you don’t have to finish typing your full search term or even get to the point of pressing “search.”
Now let’s try and nibble on several key things where I think Google Instant would be most relevant to B2B Marketing. So here are the top 5 points that I feel should be noted by B2B Marketers:
- Long tail keywords now have less relevance. As predictive keywords take centre-stage, winners or the broad category based keywords now siphon all the search juice. To illustrate – If you initially planned to search for “B2B Marketing Asia”, Instant will automatically produce results even after just typing in the first two words (“B2B Marketing”). Without even finishing your complete search parameter, you would have had relevant choices like “B2B Marketing Plan”, “B2B Marketing Strategies”, etc. displayed because Instant has figured it out for you. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that at least a portion of the users will settle for the decent and often on-the-mark serendipitous findings rather than completing the detailed long tailed keywords that they initially wanted.
- Marketers need to spend more time now on Keyword research. The combination of user behaviour and Google’s new predictive search experience makes the exact key phrases much more important. It’s now vital for you to ascertain which keywords would prove to be the most advantageous for you and your website. Forget the pet industry terms or gobbledygooks, I urge you to really spend time with keyword research tools. One useful tip would be to use Google Webmaster Tools. It has a powerful keyword research feature and the best part is that it’s FREE!
- Avoid CPM (Cost Per Mile or Thousand Impressions) for your Adwords SEM campaigns. You should do this for the obvious reason that Impression counts may increase. Google Instant follows “The 3 second rule”, i.e. AdWords will count impressions for every ad served where the user is inactive (and stops typing) for more than 3 seconds.
- You can still track Google Instant behaviours using Web Analytics. If you take note of the address bar while you are typing, you will notice that the query parameters are changing on the fly too. This means that you can still track relevant keyword origin using your analytics software. There’s no change in that aspect obviously there’s no need to panic as well.
- Old school SEO is STILL important. First of all, Instant is a user experience enhancement so it is definitely not a change in Google’s search ranking algorithm. And even if the traditional concept of SEO (in terms of how it’s being done today) will inevitably shift slightly (to say the least), we won’t see any massive effect on it since Instant only works with IE 8, Safari for Mac (v.5), Firefox 3, and Chrome (v.5 and v.6). By fall of this year we would also see Google Instant working inside mobile devices but that won’t spell a major impact on SEO too. And lastly, a large portion of the users are (and will be for a while) still using out-of-date browsers.
To say the least, Google hasn’t re-invented the proverbial wheel with Instant. They just added a great chapter to the story of search so to speak. But as time goes by, we will slowly but surely start to feel the paradigm shifting effects of such a great change on how users utilize search. And this will of course urge us to re-think the way we would address various things like SEO, Keyword research, etc. At the end of the day, I do feel that these five points will still be quite notable and useful even after we give Instant some time to simmer and take hold of everything we hold so dear.
This exclusive guest post was written by Anol Bhattacharya who consults hi-tech and telco clients (Cisco Systems Inc, IBM, IDC Asia Pacific, HP, Datacraft etc.) on behalf of GetIT (Singapore), in the field of B2B marketing, demand generation, lead nurturing, social media strategy & implementation, interactive digital media for marketing initiatives and user experience design.
He is a regular columnist on the topic of B2B marketing in various print and online newspapers, such as Business Times, Straits Times, Marketing Interactive, Asia One etc. He is also the editor-in-chief of B2Bento.com, a leading blog about news, views and reviews of the B2B marketing space and social media scene in Asia.
Image Courtesy: Anol Bhattacharya