Google have just launched “Google Instant”, a new predictive method of finding search results. Currently this is only available on the google.com domain or on other domains e.g. google.co.uk whilst logged into your Google account.
Usually when Google make a change people tend to hold onto the desk fearing another “Florida update” (the now almost legendary shake up of the early part of the decade) but this particular change is more subtle – and possibly more game changing for some.
This works by anticipating a search term as you type, so typing for “jewellery” will give you a drop down choice of “jewellery shops, jewellery making, jewellery boxes….” but it also changes the results page before your eyes to reflect the next anticipated choice. If you were to start to type “Jewellery boxes” but only got as far a the “b” in boxes it would already be ahead of you in displaying the “Jewellery Boxes” page.
The temptation therefore is either jump quickly to the choice you wanted or, interestingly, to choose another option that perhaps you had not started out to find.
There is no doubt that this is not a charitable move at heart and Google will be looking to make more money out of any improvements as well as maintaining their market dominance, however, there may be some unintended good news for more canny players who are happy to operate between the lines of Google’s new predictive set up.
To combat the increased choice now offered by predictive results, there will be many who will now be looking to, perhaps even forced to, through poor or little optimisation, to increase their range of paid for Google add-words.
For those however, who have the time, expertise or who are getting their product pages optimised professionally this opens up a world of new opportunities for creativity when constructing their pages.
Those selling “jewellery” (about 96 million results) may now be able to get more value out of good positioning of associated products such as “jewellery boxes” (about half a million results) as a route in to their core product ranges.
Indeed predictive search actually “feeds” the long tail approach to optimising for more specific terms as users may type their initial search, not find what they want immediately, then simply append or amend the search terms until they instantly “see” the results the are looking for.
Indeed clever optimisation of several less competitive terms not only makes sense under the old system but now gets a leg up under predictive searching as users type their initial search, do not find what they want immediately, then simply append or amend the search terms until they instantly “see” the results the are looking for. Are you looking at how to work this to your best advantage? If not, we would suggest that predicting the future effects on your business of predictive searching would make good business sense.