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"Google Instant" Google giveth, Google taketh away

Adam Bunn and Matthew Whiteway | Sept. 9, 2010
Googles test of streaming search not so short lived

Bunn points out that the constituent parts of longer keywords are often the types of generic keywords that are typically dominated by big brands and powerful sites with the cash to maintain rankings in an extremely competitive keyword space. 

So for smaller websites, this could well be a case of first Google giveth (the May Day update) then it taketh away (streaming search results).

Well have to hold tight for the exact repercussions, which could also extend to complications for rank checking software (if AJAX is involved in retrieving search results) and impacts on the search demand figures given by Googles keyword tools (if each stage in the streaming search counts as an impression). 

Ramifications for paid search

In relation to paid search, the question is whether Google will count each refresh / change of the search engine results pages (SERPS) as an impression for the advertiser. Whilst some advertisers will believe increasing the number of impressions / eyeballs that see their ad will help improve brand awareness and brand recall, from a pay per click (PPC) marketing perspective, this increase in unwanted impressions could play havoc with an advertisers Google Quality Score.

At Greenlight, we are constantly looking for ways of reducing wasted impressions for our clients with the objective being to improve click through rate (CTR) and therefore relevancy, one of the most important factors of Googles Quality Score, says Whiteway. If Google is going to count these dynamic changes / refreshes to the SERP then should we also expect to see some fundamental changes to the Quality Score algorithm, the keyword Match Types, or do we simply need to increase the number of negative keywords in the account to several hundred thousand? Only time will tell.

Whiteway says Googles motives for doing this must also be questioned. It has been suggested that as users become more and more internet savvy, the number of keywords used for each search query is increasing. For example, users looking for low annual percentage rate (APR) credit cards historically may have simply searched for credit cards and then conducted the filtering process manually, whereas in recent years the longtail has become increasingly searched for and important, with search queries such as credit cards with low APR for example, growing in popularity.

So why would the Google financiers not like this longtail trend? Money, says Whiteway.

The CPC that Google can charge for longtail keywords is significantly lower than that on more generic (one or two keyword search queries). Therefore the more people search for longtail search queries, the less money Google can charge the advertiser.

With streaming search therefore, Google is potentially helping users find relevant results with less search term queries, thus increasing the number of clicks on generic terms and therefore increasing the CPC for the advertiser.


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