With the rollout of the new Google Instant feature last month, some search engine marketers wondered aloud if this spelled the end of SEO…every time Google announces something, there are always some people who may take it more seriously than it really is.
It’s a well known fact that companies and others announce news with such fanfare that it makes unsuspecting people very anxious when in reality it’s just a blip on the radar screen. Google is no different in how it announces events at the company.
News that’s not really that significant is made to appear so and vice versa.
Well that certainly is the case with Google Instant – the new feature that displays search results as you’re typing in a search. Many SEOs thought this would spell doom for long-tail keywords.
But with some time and research by our friends over at SEOMoz, that isn’t really happening. If there have been any changes in long-tail keyword traffic, it’s been very minimal.
The Conductor Blog for instance analyzed 880,000 search visits for ten high-traffic sites in different industries and came up with the following data…very little impact as you can tell. The slight increase in long-tail keyword traffic would seem to go against what some have been saying.
Another set of research by MEC backs Conductor’s results up. As you can see, there’s not much if any difference in long-tail traffic.
In fact, this has generally been the case with Google’s updates according to veteran SEO Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. What initially may seem as a dramatic shift usually turns out to only be a minor tweak web marketers need to make to their strategies (i.e. personalization, local search, etc.)
Really the only updates that make a big difference are barely mentioned by the company…the 2003 Florida Update and Google Sandbox are a couple that come to mind.
And while there have been some minor adjustments, search engine marketing has fundamentally stayed pretty consistent since 2002 according to Rand. At its core, SEO involves the four following things:
1. Make pages accessible
2. Target keywords searchers use on those pages
3. Create content visitors will find useful and valuable
4. Earn editorial links from good sources
Next time there’s a big announcement like Google Instant or Caffeine, Rand suggests you ask yourself if any of these 4 elements have changed. If not, then the update is probably not a big deal and easily manageable.