The Alphabet Game According to Google

A is for Apple right? Well not according to Google, “A” is now for Amazon. Now using Google Instant search we can see the 26 most important search terms from A to Z. Today, we intend to revisit the subject of Google Instant Search since our first post when Instant was first announced by Google. In this article, we are going to discuss how Google Instant has affected the searcher and what that means for businesses working to improve their website’s search engine rankings. Through our research, we found that unlike a child’s random participation in the alphabet game, Google strives to purposefully deliver Instant Hints when a user begins typing the first letter. Businesses need to pay attention to this improvement in search, because Google Instant means potentially more impressions for your website especially if you are already ranking in the top three positions in the search results.

A = Amazon
B = Bank of America
C = Craigslist
D = Dictionary
E = Espn
F = Facebook
G = Google
H = Hotmail
I = iPhone 5
J = JC Penney
K = Kohls
L = Lowes
M = MapQuest
N = Netflix
O = Old Navy
P = Pandora
Q = Quotes
R = Redbox
S = Southwest Airlines
T = Target
V = Verizon Wireless
W = Walmart
X = X Factor
Y = YouTube
Z = Zillow

When Google introduced Instant Search, their goal was to deliver more relevant searches faster. This came in the form of autocomplete and instant hints which use both personal browsing data (what you’ve previously searched) and the browser’s physical location (IP address) to deliver search results. Autocomplete, as you may be already familiar, automatically completes your search phrase by delivering educated guesses in the search bar. Instant Hints appear in a short drop down list of phrases that relate (in theory) to your query. With this technology, Google has enabled the searcher to browse and click through results without having to finish typing a query or even clicking on the search button. Below is a list that I generated simply by typing in the following letters A-Z… this was more of a fun exercise rather than something we took seriously. However, as marketers who live, eat, breathe, sleep SEO, we couldn’t help but discover a few things…

It never hurts to be an established brand. If you already are attracting thousands of new visitors to your site every month, such as Amazon or Craigslist, Google may just include you as an Instant Hint automatically. This is perhaps the least actionable of my points, since Instant Hints are based primarily on the searcher’s history and recent trends, which brings me to my next point…

Online follows offline. For all you students of psychology, herd theory—the desire to be one with the crowd—does play out in the search engines. Google says that every Instant Hint is a term or phrase that someone (in your geographic area) has already typed in. Thus, Google assumes that what other people are searching is probably what you will likewise want to search. Ergo, herd theory, or the influence of “the crowd” on human decisions, is powerful for getting ranked well in search engines (especially Bing which has begun to exclusively use social media to deliver more relevant search results).

Trends are friends. Adding to my last point about Google displaying Instant Hints based on previous search behavior, trends or events that happen at a certain time of year can generate addition impressions (or better yet, traffic) for your business. Holidays and current events all can help to bolster your website or blog if you pick corresponding keywords and write great content. The higher quality content you have, the more likely you will be to actually generate traffic from these trending keywords and convert your site’s visitors.

It’s good to be Google or any of Google’s content networks: Wikipedia, YouTube, Plus, etc. This point is really more of a pun, since Google displayed itself under the letter “G” (actually displayed Google and Google News as the first two Hints). Nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.

We plan to discuss more about Google Instant in the days to come so keep in touch.