Google Instant returns search entries for each and every letter typed, so that “f” produces a page of links beginning with “Facebook,” while “fl” leads off the page with “Flickr”. Some had begun speculating that SEO marketers would need to concentrate on partially-typed keywords, betting that users typing in “res” would be searching for “restaurant” rather than “resume” or “Restoration Hardware”.
But Alden DeSoto, a member of the Google Analytics team, said that SEO marketers shouldn’t change their strategies, at least where that particular facet of Instant was concerned.
“Should I change my search advertising strategy to serve ads on to partial keywords (e.g. if I sell flowers, should I advertise on “flow”)?” DeSoto wrote. “This is not a productive strategy. Please note that ads are triggered based on the ‘predicted query’ and not the stem that the users types in. So, in this example, the partial query ‘flow’ triggers results for the predicted query of ‘flowers’. The only way someone can see your ad for ‘flow’ is if they specifically searched for that word and hit enter or clicked search. And since you sell flowers, it’s not likely that your ad for flowers will be served alongside such a generic and irrelevant word.”
DeSoto also said that the new Google Instant wouldn’t change search rankings, and that search queries using Instant would be tracked as they have always been.
In part, that’s because queries are measured using the predicted query (“resume”) versus the actual query (“re”), DeSoto added. “If a user was typing “web metrics” but got the search result she wanted at “web met” with the predicted term being “web metrics”, then you will see “web metrics” in your Google Analytics reports.
AdWords impressions are also counted in the same manner, with an impression generated by clicking on an ad or link on the page, or hitting “enter” after a query. The only change is that an impression will also be generated after a user pauses for three seconds after a keystroke is entered, as Google executives said at the launch.