Is Google Instant a Quick Hit?

Google was busy last month: In addition to its Gmail’s Priority Inbox, which uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to automatically prioritize incoming e-mail messages, it unveiled Google Instant. The search engine giant’s new predictive search element allows users to see results before they finish typing them into the search bar.

Google has estimated that Google Instant will save people an average of two to five seconds per search, and that it will change search forever. So what do search experts think about it?

Many like it: During a Sept. 28 panel at the conference in Dallas, Stephan Spencer, co-author of The Art of SEO, said that if you optimize your website for Google Instant, “you will see a lift.”

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D., A.P.R., owner of Searching for Profit, agreed: “On a well-optimized, heavy-hitting site, traffic is surging,” thanks to Google Instant, she said.

But Todd Friesen, former vice president of search at Position Technologies and now director of SEO at Performics, isn’t crazy about it. For one thing, he said, Google Instant is killing off the long tail because “people are finding what they want faster.”

What’s more, Friesen said, you have to keep in mind that Google Instant is “a dynamic function of what people are searching for today.” That means it’s constantly changing, he noted, “so be careful if you chase it.”

For more on Gmail’s Priority Inbox, look for the October issue of Multichannel Merchant.