Google Instant Search – Small Business Implications

Google recently rolled out its new “Google Instant” in the U.S. with more countries to come. How will this affect small businesses, especially those advertising online?

First, what is Instant Search? For awhile now, when you start a search at they will add suggestions as you type in your search query. With Instant Search Google will actually start producing results as you type, supposedly saving 2-5 seconds on your search.

One of the main reasons for this launch may be because Google is expanding into mobile search. Any saving of time or typing can be a big advantage there.

But for small businesses, it appears that the first results that Google posts are for mostly major brands. Of course, they may show up at the top of the list after a complete entry, but Google Instant may be changing the behavior of the searchers.

iCrossing came up with a list of single letter results, like I for Ikea, J for Jet Blue, L for Lowes, etc. Your results may be different depending on your location and past search behavior, but here’s what I mean…

Google Instant Search

While Google says its final results will be the same, I’m worried that searchers will be clicking on major brands before the whole search phrase is completed. Why? Because Google is “predicting” what the user wants.

So, if you are doing business online, you may see some lessening in your organic click-throughs and even variations in your impressions if you are using Adwords, which Google talks about in more detail here.

Try Google Instant yourself and see what results you get. Keep an eye on your stats and see if I’m right.