Impact of Google Instant

So I’m jumping on the impact of Google Instant bandwagon…

I hope to add more data to the conversation and bring something new to the analysis of Google Instant. It’s important to note that it hasn’t been long since the change, so we’re not working with a lot of data yet. However, I think we’re seeing some interesting insights so far.

I’m building on top of conversations started by SEER, Conductor, and SEOmoz; and used the spreadsheet posted by Brett over at SEER.

11 Sites, 75K+ keywords, and Half a Million Visits

Here are a few quick stats about the data set I’m using. I haven’t looked at the data for our biggest sites yet, but Ben is working on pulling down all that information.

Data Set

  • 11 Sites.
  • Various sizes: 3,500 weekly visits to 75,000 weekly visits.
  • Various niches: Ecommerce, Software, Gambling, Travel, and more.
  • Over 75,000 keywords.

I ran analysis on each of the 11 sites.

It’s a bit different than Conductor’s method. I’m looking at the number of keywords that sent traffic, instead of the amount of traffic sent from each keyword group.

Example Analysis

Below is the analysis of Distilled.co.uk.

Percent of Total Keywords

Google Instant Percent of Total Keywords

Let’s graph it out.

Google Instant Distilled Graph

Now, this is just one site. What gets really exciting is when we repeat this analysis on several sites.

Change in Percentages for All Sites

I calculated the change for each keyword length for each of the 11 sites and summarized them in this nifty little heat map.  The values are colored to demonstrate the magnitude and direction of the change.

Google Instant Delta Heat Map

What the colors mean:

  • Red: change < -0.5
  • Orange: change < -0.05
  • Yellow: change between -0.05 & 0.05
  • Light Green: change > 0.05
  • Dark Green: change > 0.5

Now this shows some interesting insights that sums and averages hide. You see a lot more red to the left and more green to the right. Nine out of the eleven sites saw increases in 7+ word keywords. Eight out of eleven sites saw decreases in 2 and 3 word keywords.

Overall Percent Changes

Finally, I aggregated all the data and performed an overall analysis of all the keywords. So here are the overall results from all of the data.

Overall Google Instant Keyword Graph

To clarify what’s happening here, here are the changes graphed out.

Impact of Google Instant

I think this graph combined with the heat map shows some interesting results. The data, so far, suggests that Google Instant might be pulling people away from 2 and 3 word keywords and towards 6 and 7+ word keywords. This shift doesn’t appear dramatic, but there appears to be a slight shift toward long tail keywords.

This is still early data and doesn’t include some of our largest sites, so I’ll continue to take a look as time goes on to see the impact Google Instant continues to have.