Once again, people are freaking out about what the new iteration of search engine optimization will look like. What was the instigator this time? Google Instant, which allows Google users to see their search recommendations evolve as you type in your search entry.
It’s cool, but how will it affect search engine optimization – the process by which companies optimize their site to make sure Google understands that their product offering matches what the user is searching for?
Well, let’s talk about what it’s not. It’s not the death of SEO. Here’s the reality. Google Instant will probably change people’s search habits to some degree. It’s already changed mine. You see Google working as you’re typing in your search. And you make slight adjustments to your original search intention based on what Google is spewing back.
The end game doesn’t change. Users are still going to end up on a page they’re used to now. Odds are they’ll first pick one of the top search results, or select a persuasive sponsored ad. But keep in mind that many users type with the “hunt-and-peck” method. They’re not even looking at the screen when they type, so they’re definitely not going to be adjusting their searches mid-stream. Google Instant won’t affect these people at all.
The one part of the advertising game that may change is advertisers who utilize a CPM (cost-per-impressions) model. Does a one-second impression of your sponsored link – before the user keeps typing and the results switch,  – count as an impression?
Some search terms may be affected as well. Certain long-tail key phrases may lose their relevance, if a user decides to click-through one of the early results before they finish typing in their original phrase. It will be important to keep track of your keywords over the next few months and see how Google Instant is affecting this traffic. The game is evolving. But, it’s the same game.