Does Google Instant mean the end of SEO?

You may have seen all of the news lately about the new Google Instant. This is new behaviour that dynamically changes the search results as you type your query. You have to be logged in to a Google account for this feature to be activated and this is because the search results are tailored exclusively for your search history on that account. So if you're seeing different results to everyone else, does that mean SEO (search engine optimisation) is now worthless?

Well this is certainly what some people have been speculating, but in short, the answer is most definitely "no". To even suggest that it means the end of SEO is to completely misunderstand what SEO means.

Optimising your website does not guarantee you particular search results and it doesn't boost your rankings directly. So just because 2 different people see two different lists of results for the same query, that doesn't mean that SEO hasn't still played a huge factor in deciding those results.

All that SEO is really doing is explaining to the search engines what your website is about. The search engines are computers, not people, so they can't understand the content of your website. They can't understand the text and they definitely can't understand the pictures. SEO is the art of coding your website correctly so that the search engines know which keywords apply to your website and which keywords apply more strongly than others.

That's all.

And in fact, 2 people will already see different results for the same query based on a number of factors, time of day, geographic location and your Google account's search history if you are logged in. Yes, Google has been using your Google account's search history for a long time already. Google Instant is just making use of this feature.

The only way that Google Instant changes SEO is that it is now more difficult to track the results of your SEO efforts. In the grand scheme of things, this is a good idea because it makes it more difficult to trick the search engines. You really do have to make it clear what your website is about, because you won't know exactly what things are working for you and what things aren't.

Your search history is likely to be vastly different to the search history of any of your clients, or potential clients because you probably spend a lot of time search for yourself, seeing how you're ranking. Whilst your clients probably don't search for you anywhere near that often.

Because of this, your own website is likely to rank much higher for your searches, than it is for the same searches performed by anyone else.

In order to get a (slightly) better impression of how your website is ranking, you need to make sure that you are logged out of your Google account. In other words, make sure that it says "Sign In" in the top right hand corner of Google. This way, your search results won't be biased towards you.

You still won't be able to see the same results as other people who are logged in, but at least you can see some less biased results.

For more information on SEO and promoting your website online, contact OpenGlobal today.