Google has started rolling out its newest innovation in search – Google Instant.
Users signed in to their accounts will be the first to notice the new feature, basically an auto-complete on steroids. Rather than just suggest what search query you might be typing, Google now just cuts to the chase and actually starts returning results as you type.
Start typing in “Australia” and “Autotrader” Web sites pop up after you hit the “u”. Start a search for “peanut butter” and results for several companies named “Pearson” will display before you’re done typing.
Google’s dominance of Internet search has given rise to a whole industry based around figuring out how it ranks Web sites. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is all about figuring out how to get a Web site a higher ranking – preferably on the first page of results (top 10) and even better if it’s “above the fold” or in the top five results.
Every time Google makes some change in their algorithm, it results in a race amongst those offering SEO services to figure out the new tweak that will result in higher placement. But Google Instant represents quite a huge change to the way people search – users could be distracted by the results being returned as they type and forget what they wanted to search in the first place.
Whereas search was about key words in the past, Google Instant offers even more precision – SEO specialists can now offer target “key letters” to be even more exact.
Even typing in just one letter to Google Instant will now bring up search results (no need to hit Enter). So the race has begun to claim top billing for each letter in the English alphabet. Just imagine the revenue potential – users doing a search on anything from “aardvark” to “axe” will first see Amazon.com at the top of their results list.
Amazon might hope those searchers decide to delay their query and cram in some quick online shopping first.
No doubt there will be heated competition to grab all the best letters of the alphabet. Will any company be able to trump eBay’s hold on the reliable “E”? Could some man of mystery sneak away the top “X” spot from Microsoft’s Xbox?
Other letters will be less contested. Since “F” is associated with failing, Facebook is probably safe with its top result there.
Here’s the current top results for the Google Instant alphabet.
Google Instant alphabet: top results
B: Best Buy
H: Hotmail (live.com)
O: Orbitz Travel
P: Pandora Radio
R: REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)