Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Instant Gratification

So, how has Google Instant been for you? I have to confess that I've switched it off - I found the constantly shifting list of results confusing and irritating. I honestly don't see the point: I know what search term I'm going to put in, so it was bad enough when Google started trying to predict that from the first few letters you typed. Bringing up search results on a letter by letter basis is doubly pointless. For me, Google Instant is just another manifestation of what's wrong with Google these days - it has completely lost sight of what web searching is actually about. What the average user wants are results relevant to their search. They don't want the search engine trying to second guess them, or serve up results based on what 'it' thinks are 'interesting' or 'important'. Contrary to what Google's executives currently seem to think, many of us actually do want to see many sites giving us the same sort of information in their results. That's what we were searching for: a variety of sources, hopefully giving a number of different perspectives and interpretations of the subject we were researching.

But that's just me speaking as a Google search user. Speaking as a site owner, I have to say that the first few days of Google Instant seem to have given my traffic a modest boost. Now, I have to admit that I'm not one hundred percent certain that Google Instant is the only factor behind this recent rise in visitors. I also posted a new story on Sunday evening, which also attracted some traffic, but an examination of my stats seems to show that it hasn't been the main source of traffic over the past few days. Obviously, this boost could prove as transitory as previous increases, but I find it interesting that something which has been characterised as a harbinger of doom in SEO circles - Google Instant - appears, in practice, to have had the opposite effect on traffic than has been predicted by many 'experts'. Whilst 'Mayday' might have been a disaster for me in traffic terms, perhaps the advent of Google Instant might provide a partial solution.

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