Google Suggest is getting ready to be integrated into the main Google search over the next week or so. It’s been tested in Google Labs over the last few years and will finally make it’s debut on the main stage (Google’s home page). This will put it in front of millions of new users and will have an impact in the way traffic is shaped across the web. But how?
We will most likely see both 1-2 keyword (super short tail) queries and 4-8 keyword (long tail) queries get pushed into 2-4 keyword queries (middle tail). On one hand this is good. Instead of ambiguous queries like “cheap” more people will be directed to more specific queries like “cheap flights” or “cheap laptops” (assuming 1 of the 10 is what they wanted in the first place.) Then there’s the other side of the coin.
It’s no secret Google has been trying to chop off the long tail for some time (so they can serve ads against the shorter tail) – this will certainly help them in that respect. If you were going to search “cheap laptops best prices and reviews” and after having typed “cheap lap…” you see “see “cheap laptops for sale” you might be inclined to just click that result, since it was close to what you were looking for anyway and it saves you extra typing.
One aspect of Google suggest that’s not being discussed much is the number of search results that shows next to a query. Most people probably don’t understand this number, but will have a general assumption that higher number = better. So when choosing between 2 similar items, they might choose the one with a higher number. Not sure whether this is necessarily bad – just not ideal and possibly misleading.
Plenty of others have been discussing this issue and adding a lot of interesting insight into this. You may want to check out these posts:
- Short term and long term implications to SEO (Aaron Wall)
- How suggest will change SEO (Michael D Jensen)
- 9 Ideas how things might change (Scott Clark)
- How this will change keyword referrers (Jaan Kanellis)
At this point, it’s all conjecture. We will have to wait and see how this affects the landscape once this shakes out.