Google Instant a Marketing Ploy?

The article, “How Google Saved a $100 Million By Launching Google Instant” really caught my eye. How did the big giant do this? As you know for the past couple of weeks, since Google announced the launch of Google Instant people have been tweeting and writing about it and the offering their two cents about the implications it may have on SEO and paid search.

In my opinion it’s not going to change how companies currently conduct SEO and paid search campaigns. Right now it’s more of a waiting game. Will impressions increase? Will that cause Click-thru-rate (CTR) to decrease? How will Instant affect cost-per-click (CPC)? I’ve read blogs about how Google Instant is a game-changing, time-saving innovation, but is it really? Previous to Google Instant users still had the ability to search while Google threw out suggestions of what they may be looking up. So what’s changed? That results appear as you type… Not too impressive especially while doing some tests the first results that appear as you type aren’t necessarily things I was looking for.

Is this another attempt by Google to choke off the long-tail of paid search in order to force greater competition and CPCs on head terms? Only time will tell I guess.

Now back to how Google saved millions. I’m not in PR, but if I was I’d be amazed on a job well done by Google’s PR team. With just one press release and a few interviews, Google has taken advantage of their slight speed change into an attention-grabbing front-page news story. Looks like Google Instant has been an effective countermove to Microsoft’s $100 million dollar ad campaign at the launch of Bing.

Amazing how Google continues to be at the top of its game. When Bing launched they thought they could beat out the big giant with what they thought could be Google’s Achilles Heel. Bing researchers found that the average time spent in search sessions was getting longer and longer and users were getting ever more frustrated with sifting through results of multiple queries to find what they were searching for. So Microsoft engineered the Bing search engine from the bottom up to specialize in organizing search results data in a noticeably better, more efficient way so that Bing users would immediately experience noticeably shorter search sessions and reach decisions more quickly.

Currently, the average search session lasts nine minutes and requires about six queries, then assuming Google Instant shaves off two seconds per query, the search session goes from 9 minutes down to 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

The way Google launched Google Instant was timely as Microsoft is knees deep in preparing to roll out their search alliance with Yahoo. This sleeping competitor was taken by storm as Google’s PR and product teams helped reclaim, by default, the throne as the world’s fastest search engine.

I’m now concerned as what is to happen with the newly created search alliance by Microsoft and Yahoo. Will search users become overwhelmed by Google Instant and make searching on Google much more frustrating? Only time will tell!