SMX Live: Google Instant: 6 Months Later

Mar 8, 2011 - 1:35 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX West 2011

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the NAME panel from the SMX West 2011 conference. This coverage is provided by Keri Morgret of Strike Models and Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Barry Schwartz: 10:36:23 am
Starting in about 9 minutes...
Barry Schwartz: 10:37:34 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:38:44 am
Keri is joining me...
Barry Schwartz: 10:40:42 am
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Keri Morgret: 10:41:08 am
Google Instant: 6 Months Later
When Google rolled out Google Instant results, delivering actual search results and ads as you type, search marketers were unsure of what to expect, and what (if anything) would have to change going forward. This session takes an in-depth look at Google Instant’s impact on search results, using hard data to detailing the effects of on clickthrough rates, searcher behavior and other key metrics, with a focus on what marketers need to know to maximize performance in this new world of search results.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Q&A Moderator: Disa Johnson, CEO, SearchReturn


Erez Barak, VP of Product, Optify
Anthony Coleman, Paid Search Manager, Search Influence
Othar Hansson, Senior Staff Software Engineer, Google
Avi Wilensky, ceo, founder, Promediacorp
Barry Schwartz: 10:45:35 am
Starting shortly....
Keri Morgret: 10:47:31 am
There's a slight delay as Danny mentions that unplugging cables does not help computers function well.
Barry Schwartz: 10:48:39 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:49:37 am
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Keri Morgret: 10:49:47 am
This session's hashtag is #1b2
Barry Schwartz: 10:50:46 am
There is a brief promotional message going on now...
Keri Morgret: 10:51:34 am
Danny's making a couple of bad jokes.
Barry Schwartz: 10:51:51 am
6 months ago, there was a press event for Google Instant...
Barry Schwartz: 10:52:12 am
Steve Rubel declared SEO was dead but we all survived.
Barry Schwartz: 10:52:39 am
Keri Morgret: 10:52:48 am
Othar Hansson is up first.
Barry Schwartz: 10:53:02 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:53:07 am
6 months ago today, this hour, he said it was announced.
Barry Schwartz: 10:53:29 am
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Keri Morgret: 10:53:44 am
Instant launched six months ago. A year ago, there was a "pinata party" where Hansson was the pinata and people internally said this wouldn't work.
Barry Schwartz: 10:53:49 am
Google is obsessed with speed.
Barry Schwartz: 10:54:17 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:54:43 am
Keri Morgret: 10:54:44 am
Screenshot of timeline of both user and google time it takes for a search and result.
Keri Morgret: 10:54:59 am
Users happier when search faster, less happy when search slower.
Barry Schwartz: 10:55:20 am
Today, Instant Previews is available on Android.
Keri Morgret: 10:55:28 am
Today it's announced that instant preview is available on android phones.
Barry Schwartz: 10:55:47 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:55:56 am
Keri Morgret: 10:56:26 am
In usability studies, people don't notice what's new.
Barry Schwartz: 10:56:29 am
When you do usability studies, people typically do not know what is new...
Keri Morgret: 10:56:46 am
They consider that the best result, for people to not notice a big change.
Barry Schwartz: 10:57:04 am
Google instant predicts a full query and gives you a search result set based on that query.
Keri Morgret: 10:57:05 am
G Instant always predicts a full query.
Keri Morgret: 10:57:15 am
Simpler for users and advertisers.
Barry Schwartz: 10:57:50 am
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Keri Morgret: 10:58:00 am
Four main features:
Instant results
Powered by autocomplete suggestions
Scroll to search
Keyboard nav
Keri Morgret: 10:58:08 am
Working on other features, but he gives no details.
Barry Schwartz: 10:58:10 am
They are working on more features....
Keri Morgret: 10:58:26 am
Advertiser Perspective:
Users stil click on ads.
Barry Schwartz: 10:58:42 am
Very few people have gone out of business due to this, he said.
Keri Morgret: 10:59:04 am
When an ad impression is counted (this is available online too). In general, consider an impression if the user expresses interest in the query.
Barry Schwartz: 10:59:13 am
@smx day one. Attending "Google Instant, 6 months later". #smx #Kenshoo #googleinstant

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 10:59:57 am
Google's Othar Hansson Instant matches ads to full predicted search, not partial word #smx #1b2

Original Tweet:
Keri Morgret: 11:00:10 am
What webmasters now know:

Users looking for good content. Want to visit pages with compelling content and great user experience. You want to think about words users would type to find your pages.
Keri Morgret: 11:00:22 am
Impression counts may change, but clicks probably won't.
Barry Schwartz: 11:00:56 am
impressions change b/c of the 3 second load thing...
Barry Schwartz: 11:01:41 am
Google rep argues that Google Instant changes basically nothing from a webmaster perspective. #smx

Original Tweet:
Keri Morgret: 11:01:41 am
Rollout details
Keri Morgret: 11:02:33 am
Sept 8: six countries
Sept-Dec more countries
Ongoing as opt-in Chrome Instant
Ongoing as opt-in: instant on mobile, same locales as desktop.

Stuff is available by API as well.
Keri Morgret: 11:03:22 am
Briefly talking about the technical challenges.
Barry Schwartz: 11:04:19 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:04:30 am
Lefty example of a first type of instant implementation...
Keri Morgret: 11:04:39 am
Ideas they had earlier. Mixed results (from multiple types of queries), grouping queries. They did eye tracking studies.
Keri Morgret: 11:05:21 am
"Search is much more like an application"
Keri Morgret: 11:05:36 am
Page doesn't refresh, sits there like an app.
Barry Schwartz: 11:05:40 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:06:08 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:06:20 am
Othar told me the slide below is not interesting, but here it is anyway...
Keri Morgret: 11:06:47 am
They've been working on even more optimizations since launch
Barry Schwartz: 11:06:49 am
They keep optimizing the efficiencies
Barry Schwartz: 11:07:15 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:07:21 am
And that's the end of his presentation.
Barry Schwartz: 11:07:30 am
Google's Othar is done. Next up...
Barry Schwartz: 11:07:45 am
Avi Wilensky, ceo, founder, Promediacorp
Barry Schwartz: 11:08:37 am
Google mocks normal searches saying Google Suggest was around since 2008 and not only until Google launched Instant did people care....
Barry Schwartz: 11:08:51 am
Google mocks = Danny mocks - sorry.
Barry Schwartz: 11:09:21 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:09:21 am
Avi then mocks himself for being short.
Keri Morgret: 11:09:41 am
Google suggest is not called Google Autocompelte.
Barry Schwartz: 11:09:42 am
He will give examples of Google Instant suggestions ...
Barry Schwartz: 11:10:12 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:10:31 am
Avi is telling a story about "Bob", who has a local small business. He's not into web stuff, but has a good reputation online.
Barry Schwartz: 11:10:55 am
cute slides, capturing them for you... Keri will give more context....
Barry Schwartz: 11:11:14 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:11:39 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:12:08 am
Since Google can't help... He hires an SEO firm, learns about ORM, SEO...
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:12 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:12:13 am
Bob notices G is now autocompleting with "bob's company name complaints". He contacts Google. Ha! We all know what that's like. He learns the words SEO and ORM and hires a couple of firms over a couple of six month period.
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:20 am
But the SEO firms don't help and then Google instant launched...
Keri Morgret: 11:12:29 am
SEO doesn't help. Then Instant comes out.
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:36 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:12:46 am
Bob is "freaking out".
Keri Morgret: 11:13:03 am
Great cartoons here. Love this presentation!
Barry Schwartz: 11:13:04 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:13:15 am
Sales dive and they find a good SEO company
Barry Schwartz: 11:13:32 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:13:56 am
Bob finally turns to a ProMedia company that Avi happens to have. :)
Barry Schwartz: 11:14:02 am
Google auto complete is very hyper sensitive to what people are querying
Barry Schwartz: 11:14:23 am
They try to have a lot of people to run query volumes on Google....
Keri Morgret: 11:14:50 am
They try to crowdsource people to see if they can adjust some of these auto complete suggestions.
Barry Schwartz: 11:14:51 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:14:56 am
He did this with Avi Wilinsky Rockstar and it worked.
Barry Schwartz: 11:15:16 am
Not the most "kosher" thing to do but....
Barry Schwartz: 11:15:32 am
Othar from Google asks a question and asks, are they still showing up...
Barry Schwartz: 11:15:53 am
Avi said they were until a few weeks ago until they stopped doing it...
Keri Morgret: 11:16:05 am
The Google rep interjects, and asks if the results for Avi's name are still showing. :)
Barry Schwartz: 11:16:08 am
Othar felt Google fixed that isssue but Avi said no.
Barry Schwartz: 11:16:44 am
There are ways to pay humans to run queries, there are tools, it is a bit aggressive and you may have to go that route.
Barry Schwartz: 11:16:57 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:17:06 am
Problematic result examples
Keri Morgret: 11:17:52 am
Great example of google suggest for "seo is" for the query.
Barry Schwartz: 11:17:55 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:18:22 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:18:42 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:18:53 am
Othar from Google is on Danny's right (look left)
Barry Schwartz: 11:19:48 am
Google Suggest shows pretty bad things for ethnic groups, religions, famous young girls, etc.
Keri Morgret: 11:20:13 am is the URL for this presentation.
JD: 11:20:14 am
So how does the Google rep on the panel feel about this manipulation of results?
Barry Schwartz: 11:20:27 am
@JD, :) what do you think?
Keri Morgret: 11:20:56 am
The Google rep was making notes after every couple of slides @JD. :)
Barry Schwartz: 11:20:57 am
Erez Barak, VP of Product, Optify is now up.
JD: 11:21:03 am
I want to know what he is saying!
Barry Schwartz: 11:21:14 am
@JD i am sure they will talk during Q&A
Keri Morgret: 11:21:16 am
Erez Barak is now speaking.
Barry Schwartz: 11:21:32 am
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Clayburn: 11:21:46 am
I didn't want him to blow the lid on this.
Barry Schwartz: 11:21:58 am
His clients called him and said, why do we need you, Google Instant said SEO is dead. :)
Keri Morgret: 11:22:07 am
He's going to try to answer the top five questions that have been trending.
Barry Schwartz: 11:22:30 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:22:44 am
Keri Morgret: 11:22:58 am
What goes into predictions?
Barry Schwartz: 11:23:00 am
Type "W" in Google Instant and you get weather
Keri Morgret: 11:23:11 am
No adult content
Similar to ranking algo
Barry Schwartz: 11:23:15 am
Then try "A" and you get Amazon, AOL, apple att
Barry Schwartz: 11:23:34 am
P pandora, pge, paypal, etc
Barry Schwartz: 11:23:46 am
The Google Suggestions are not just popular or local but also personalized.
Keri Morgret: 11:23:49 am
Sometimes results are personalized.
Keri Morgret: 11:24:10 am
Results -- meaning suggest results.
Barry Schwartz: 11:24:11 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:24:31 am
His customers want to be in these Google Instant predictions
Keri Morgret: 11:24:37 am
Customers want to understand how to get into the predictions. They're seeing a lot of signals in Barak's company.
Keri Morgret: 11:25:04 am
Table of where Google visitors are coming from. Instant vs standard vs mobile.
Barry Schwartz: 11:25:05 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:25:11 am
Where are Google visitors coming from?
Barry Schwartz: 11:26:09 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:26:09 am
How has keyword diversity changed? Overall, diversity has not changed since Instant launched. Small number of customers are affected.
Keri Morgret: 11:27:21 am
Out of 10 customers he's showing, nine have had about the same keyword diversity, just one (on top) has had bigger changed.
Keri Morgret: 11:27:29 am
Has organic CTR changedf?
Barry Schwartz: 11:27:36 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:27:50 am
Organic CTR #1, 1st page, 2nd page.
Barry Schwartz: 11:28:11 am
CTR drops after that
Keri Morgret: 11:28:12 am
First page is 8.9%, higher than 1.5% on the second page. Ranking below second page, is good only for tracking and looking at trends, but has almost no business value.
Barry Schwartz: 11:28:54 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:28:54 am
Graphic looking at head terms and long tail term. Head terms had higher CTR for first position, long tail shows better overall CTR on page one.
Barry Schwartz: 11:29:51 am
From @ebarak, Optify: Influencers of Google Instant results (in order): local, popular, personalized, recent/trending searches #smx #1b2

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 11:30:06 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:30:28 am
Main Takeaways:
Keri Morgret: 11:31:02 am
Keep tracking G sources, CTR and actual traffic trends.
Predictions are not always the most popular search terms.
Keyword diversity hasn't change substantially.
Rollout to all audiences and feature changes require tracking of actual traffic trends.
Barry Schwartz: 11:31:16 am
Last up... Anthony Coleman, Paid Search Manager, Search Influence
Barry Schwartz: 11:31:26 am
He will focus on the impact on the paid search side ofthings
Barry Schwartz: 11:31:42 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:31:44 am
His first time speaking ever!
Keri Morgret: 11:31:49 am
He'll be speaking on negative impacts of long tail and paid search.
Barry Schwartz: 11:32:33 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:32:38 am
Great thing for the ADHD generation!
Keri Morgret: 11:33:01 am
Puts you in a different position from what you were thinking of. Distract searchers from their original intent.
Barry Schwartz: 11:33:08 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:33:25 am
Negative impacts of specific query:
Two other things I missed.
Barry Schwartz: 11:33:41 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:33:55 am
His client saw a huge drop
Keri Morgret: 11:33:59 am
Combat the instant effect with paid search: how to
Barry Schwartz: 11:34:05 am
So they had to combat it with paid search
Barry Schwartz: 11:34:19 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:34:23 am
Use instant suggest results for PPC keyword research.
Barry Schwartz: 11:34:51 am
They learned about related and negative keywords through the tool.
Keri Morgret: 11:34:53 am
For a bolder dentist, they bid on "dentist bould" "dentist boulde" "boulder dentis" so they were shown through all stages of query.
Barry Schwartz: 11:35:04 am
They can also geo aret the correct locations...
Keri Morgret: 11:35:09 am
Geo-target for the correct location, not just the metro areas.
Barry Schwartz: 11:35:37 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:36:01 am
With more focused geo targeting, they could use fewer geo-modified number of keywords (fewer to manage)
Barry Schwartz: 11:36:36 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:36:57 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:37:01 am
Posting some of his results
Keri Morgret: 11:37:12 am
He's showing examples of results for his clients when they've made these changes. Good increase in conversions, CTR.
Barry Schwartz: 11:37:32 am
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Keri Morgret: 11:38:13 am

G Instant has had a negative impact on long tail for geo-modified queries for organic and paid search, but there are ways to combat this.
Barry Schwartz: 11:38:25 am
Q&A time... Maybe fight time...
Keri Morgret: 11:38:37 am
I would have considered this a good presentation by anyone, but great for a first-time speaker!
Barry Schwartz: 11:39:00 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:39:55 am
FYI, this session is over in 20 mins... We are then back at PST time...

1:45pm-3:00pm (PST)
* Do Not Track & Search Marketing - Keri Morgret
* Google Places - Brian Ussery
Barry Schwartz: 11:40:00 am
Keri Morgret: 11:40:49 am
Danny asks how many people were concerend about Google Instant went it came out, and how many today. Not too many people raised their hands.
Keri Morgret: 11:42:26 am
Danny is mentioning how the instant suggestions vary quite a lot, different states have different results, even different cities have different results.
Barry Schwartz: 11:43:00 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:43:25 am
Othar said, if a man comes to you in a cap offering to make your instant results better, run away. It is an abuse of the Google guidelines...
Barry Schwartz: 11:43:51 am
Google is willing to take corrective action...
Keri Morgret: 11:43:53 am
Google "Willing to take corrective action".
Barry Schwartz: 11:44:29 am
Avi said this is not what we normally do, but this was a legitimate business. The issue is there is no way to reach out to Google about this. That is the issue.
Keri Morgret: 11:44:43 am
Avi does respond saying that for the business owner, it is hard to contact anybody at Google and figure out what's going on, so they turn to SEOs.
Barry Schwartz: 11:44:53 am
Everyone claps... :)
Keri Morgret: 11:45:45 am
As always, it's fun when Danny tries to pin down a Google rep for an answer.
Barry Schwartz: 11:46:07 am
People search for [business name scam] and it is done all the time, even for good businesses
Barry Schwartz: 11:46:20 am
Danny asks everyone to not search for [smx scam]
Barry Schwartz: 11:46:54 am
Google views manipulating suggestions as "abuse" & will take "corrective" action as needed #smx #1b2

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 11:47:35 am
You can influence Google Autocomplete though crowdsourced searches. via @aviw (I can attest to that myself.) #smx

Original Tweet:
Keri Morgret: 11:47:36 am
Danny is going over what stuff doesn't show up in suggest.
Barry Schwartz: 11:47:55 am
Porn, hate, violence and piracy are not shown in the google suggest
Barry Schwartz: 11:49:13 am
blah blah scam is a secondary priority to Google, Othar said because other things like porn and security are more important.
Keri Morgret: 11:49:40 am
There are still some issues with the algo, sometimes synonyms aren't filtered out in google suggest.
Barry Schwartz: 11:49:51 am
Here is an interesting thing with [lesbian]
Barry Schwartz: 11:50:04 am
@aviw Amen! "Where does G draw the line on appropriate keywords? Gay movies gets blocked, but not gay films." #smx #1b2

Original Tweet:
Barry Schwartz: 11:51:02 am
Avi wants Google suggest to do fact checking, such as content on the page and Othar said this is part of the algo but there are dials.
Barry Schwartz: 11:53:45 am
98% of people use Google Instant
Keri Morgret: 11:54:12 am
98% of people choose to keep using instant Othar said. Others in audience mention that it's default opt-in.
Barry Schwartz: 11:55:31 am
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Clayburn: 11:55:50 am
Google can't really do anything about "taking corrective measures" against us without compromising their algorithmic integrity anyway. It's just good PR to sound intimidating.
Barry Schwartz: 11:58:52 am
We are just about done...
Barry Schwartz: 11:59:09 am
Next up...

1:45pm-3:00pm (PST)
* Do Not Track & Search Marketing - Keri Morgret
* Google Places - Brian Ussery

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