Posts Tagged ‘turn off’

Google Instant - Don't Bury the Lead!

Friday, February 11th, 2011
Google-Instant_screen-shot by KarlKasca, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  KarlKasca -
Title: Google-Instant_screen-shot

What's Google Instant?

"Google Instant" (launched in September 2010) "instantly" shows web search results as you type.  According to Google this should save web searchers 2-5 seconds per search (Google Instant Press Site FAQ).

- Note: You need to hit your enter key or the Google Search button to actually go to the results page (but you can see the results as you type).

  • UPDATE: Recently I've found Google Instant to sometimes be anything but instant, at least in Internet Explorer (IE).  And yes, I cleaned my browser cache and defragmented my hard drive, so those shouldn't be issues. Even after this, searches in Google Instant in IE can be slow and using the back button can be slow as well. You might this this is an internet connection issue, but if I go to another brower it's fine. Maybe this is something that will be fixed in IE 9.
  • But if you find Google Instant to be slow occasionally, then there's an easy way to turn off Google Instant and Autocomplete (formerly called Google Suggest):
  • Solution: See "How do I Turn Off Autocomplete as well as Google Instant?" near the bottom of this post for the humorously named "Elmer Fudd" solution to this annoying problem. And "no worries" about trying this as you can always change your preferences back at any time.

Note: The rest of this post is from a newsletter tip I wrote right after the release of Google Instant titled: Google Instant -> Don't Bury the Lead!


What's "Autocomplete?"

Google Suggest was renamed "Autocomplete" and uses "predictive text" to show you possible searches as you type. For instance if you type in "city of" (without the quotes) I see "city of los angeles", "city of hope", etc. below the search box.

"City of los angeles" is shown in the search box and "los angeles" is grayed out. Autocomplete shows results based on what people are searching on, pretty much "real time".

  • Tip: Use Autocomplete for researching current trends or "real time" market research.
    • Type in "true" and you'll see hits for "true grit", "true blood", etc. today because they're hot topics. Tomorrow? - Who knows.

Is Google Instant regional?

  • The definitive answer: "Maybe". The reason I say this is that while I was typing in the "city of" search query above I didn't see any text or results for "city of pasadena" (where I happen to be at the time - see the image above).
  • According to the Marketing Over Coffee (MOC) podcast, the answer is "No": If you type in "university of", you could see results which aren't in your local geographic area at all. In my case I saw a lot of University of Phoenix results (with a local Pasadena branch), other local universities and Arizona. And UCLA and USC were nowhere to be seen - yikes!
  • Bottom line: It may be a mix of hot topics, local search results, keyword optimization, and paid search.
  • Tip: Go Local by listing your business and website in Google Places
  • Also be sure to list your branch offices according to Marketing Over Coffee.
  • According to MOC, about 25% of search is local (so this is big!)


Other Marketing Over Coffee points about Instant Search:

  • Top 2 to 3 results: You're "dead meat" if your search results aren't in the top few results.
    • Reason: People won't scroll down to view results which are further down the results page.
    • Depending on people's screen resolutions, they may just see the Autocompletes, some ads, and several search results on their screen.
    • Tip: Use search engine optimization (SEO) to attempt to have your site's result appear near the top.
    • Strategy: Use great keywords/phrases in your article titles (not to mention the title of your website).
    • Mega-Tip: Don't "bury the lead" - Try to have the best keywords/phrases at the start of your titles (or lead paragraphs) rather than at the end.
    • E.g., "Best Job Seeking Tips from Northern Light search", rather than: "Northern Light search yields Best Job Seeking Tips."
    • Reason: Since every letter (and word) a searcher types into the Google search box influences the search results try to have the most typed (popular) words first which are the most representative of the content (in your article or on your web page).
    • Note: The impact of Google Instant on SEO is being hotly debated on the web right now and these are just our best ideas at this point.
    • Many blogs are suggesting and contesting whether "long tail" searches (long searches with many keywords) are dead.
  • Who will win the battle for the letter "k": Kohls or Kmart?
    • If you just type in the letter "k" Kohls appears to be winning the retail store wars right now.
    • While Amazon is winning the letter "a" (followed by AOL, Apple, and AT&T).
    • Should you try to bid on Google Adwords for partial search terms, like "Boston flo" (for "Boston flowers")?
    • "No" right now, according to Marketing Over Coffee, but this is being hotly debated on the web.
  • 3-Second Rule:Apparently Google Instant search results appearing for less than 3-seconds don't count as "impressions" from a paid search standpoint.
    • Meaning: If you use Google Adwords for advertising on the web you shouldn't be charged for views of your results unless they're seen 3-seconds or more and/or someone clicks on your ad.
      • Note: Don't hold us (or Marketing Over Coffee) responsible if this isn't the case and you're charged anyway!
  • Google Instant only works in the main search box on Google's home page: Not in:
    • The Google Toolbar, internal site searches on websites, slow connection or low bandwidth situations, mobile phones (at least right now).


Why did Google launch Google Instant?

According to Search Engine Land it was to counter Bing's Decision Engine with little or no publicity expense.

  • Tip: Consider launching simple and low-cost PR campaigns after the dust clears from your competitor's mega-campaigns.


Karl's Bottom Line on Google Instant:

I'm using the Google Toolbar which doesn't use the Google Instant features mentioned above.

Reason: Many people may find Google Instant useful, but even as a power searcher I find the dynamically changing search results to be a distraction (even though the Google Instant About FAQ says this should not be the case).

  • Tip: Consider using the Google Toolbar (which has lots of strong search features anyway), or turn off Google Instant, or use Bing or Yahoo search engines (which look like oases of serenity compared to Google Instant's constantly changing hyperactive results).

How do I Turn Off Google Instant?

The Official Google Instant (FAQ) answer: "people who do not want this new interface can turn it off by clicking the toggle to the right of the search box."

Note: But the official method doesn't always work or last, so here's the real solution:

Google_Elmer-Fudd-search-option by KarlKasca, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  KarlKasca -
Title: Google_Elmer-Fudd-search-option

How do I Turn Off Autocomplete as well as Google Instant? (the "Elmer Fudd" solution)

Credit goes to the post by "wwwallyh" (Level 13) on page 1 of Google Web Search Help Forum:
"How can I PERMANENTLY switch to Basic Version of Google Images Search?",
  • Basically at the web page you click on Settings > Search Settings and select "Elmer Fudd" in the Interface Language drop-down menu.
  • Then just reverse this process and choose your language of choice, e.g., English to return your Google searches to normal.
  • And if you don't see the "Settings" on your Google search page (as in the Chrome browser), then go to:


Hope this helps!

Take care and best success,

Karl Kasca

NOTE: This post on"Google Instant -> Don't Bury the Lead!" was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week which you can subscribe to by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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