By now, you've seen that irritating predictive search completion interface that Google has created. You know, the one that tries to anticipate what you are looking for and makes suggestions aplenty while you are doing so. The official line from Google is that this is a time-saving mechanism and it very well may turn out to be that—if you do not look at the screen while entering your search—because it is no longer necessary to hit the "Enter" key; when you quit typing, your search is up on the screen.
Whenever something new is added, people of questionable expertise opine on what it all means on all sorts of blogs. Some of these people call this development "Death to SEO." Some of these people are motivated by greed and seek to panic people who count on SEO to help their business to seek whole new levels of "services" to "overcome" this kind of development. I suppose that's one way to drum up prospects in a slow economy, but it is wrong and it is grossly unethical.
Why Google will never implement hurtful changes that affect your SEO Google has a huge and precious asset: the search history of billions.
Google mines that history to price their pay-per-click, to help consumers find what they are looking for, faster, and to increase their efficiency as a provider of online advertising, among other reasons. The key to all of this is Google's database.
Anything that devalues that database will make Google less valuable, because their information will not be as accurate. Any attempt to grossly affect the Google algorithm will be disaster for all those companies spending the billions that Google collects every quarter from advertisers, and thus, for Google. As Google and others become faster and better at delivering targeted information to consumers, SEO will continue to become MORE important than ever.
Recently many web followers noted that Facebook now has more hits than Google. Some then wrote that social networking is surpassing search. Well, maybe it is for chatting with friends or announcing sales on Twitter, but for the consumer looking for anything specialized, like a home for their family, search is, was and will remain the dominant method of searching for information about what that consumer is looking to buy. Our advanced metrics identify where every lead for every client comes from and for five years now, Google is the number one spot they come from.
Conversely, while social networking is all the rage, we see almost no referrals to our clients from it (to be completely objective, perhaps some prospects contact clients through other means, like email, after finding them on a social media network, but the overwhelming number of homebuyers searching for a home start on Google and that's where most real Internet leads originate).
With about 65% of all Internet searches originating on Google, they are the force for the consumer and they cannot be overlooked by any agent seeking Internet buyers. No website, portal or social site produces any statistically meaningful comparative results. Google receives more real estate related inquiries in one day than any other site (except perhaps Yahoo and Bing) does in one year.
What does all this mean to you and to your business? According to Google, very little is changing; mainly, the obscure way that advertising impressions are calculated for pay-per-click clients. Google adamantly maintains that this new interface will not affect your page ranking, how your ads are presented, your Google quality score, and they will not sell partial keywords that may appear in the predictive search results (For example, if you were a florist, when someone types in the first three letters f-l-o the screen offers "flowers." Google won't let anyone buy "f-l-o" as a keyword.). In sum, it's a real potential time saver because—with billions of searches performed weekly, even 2 seconds saved per search adds up quickly—server time is reduced and results shown faster. Google's Instant interface is really neat technology that will not adversely affect anyone's SEO.
We should continue to expect advances from Google and other search engines but we should always remember that it is not in their interests to change the way things work on a fundamental level. Likewise, these advances continually serve as a warning to those not engaged in effective SEO for their websites: as consumers get further addicted, if your site is not found on Google you will suffer. You absolutely must be engaged in Internet marketing today, for in real estate, it's about the only marketing that is still working!