Google Instant Makes Google More Money and Challenges SEOs to Follow Basic Principles
It is no surprise that Google Instant has increased the click-through rate on paid search ads. With the advent of the 6-8 suggested search phrases that appear as you type in the search box, paid ads are now prominently displayed in the center of the results screen. And have you noticed that you stop typing the whole phrase that you planned on typing and are selecting a search result that you didn't start out looking for?
In paid search results the 'fat middle' (thanks Amanda for that great term) is getting the clicks. Words like 'used ford' cost more than 'used ford truck 1963'. But are you stopping at 'used ford' or maybe 'used ford tr'. That ad may cost more than the long tail term (ie Google makes more money). So for those that have 100,000 keywords when 5,000 and a bunch a negates would do, this is a great opportunity to shrink your campaign and make it much more manageable. (Companies with inventory: sorry but you still need the long tail.)
Try doing this search: vmware do
You were planning on entering vmware documentation but what you saw first was vmware downloads. Would you continue typing in the work documentation or just select downloads to see what was available for free that day or what upgrades you may be missing?
Now look at the organic results - way down the page aren't they! And so the documentation people at VMware may be wondering why they aren't getting their normal clicks and downloads have increased? I cannot confirm this is happening but I can certainly guess.
If organic is way down the page - that is another reason why paid is getting more clicks. But it is also another reason why you need to have substantial cross-linking within your site. If searchers do choose to click a 'less accurate' result based on selecting the result that appeared half way through their search, then they may land on the 'wrong' page from your point of view. Make sure they can navigate easily to the right page; the related page. Of course, this also takes having a significant number of text-based words on web pages so that they engines figure out what pages are related to other pages. Google Instant really shows the value in implementing basic SEO principles on your site: substantial text-based content, internal linking outside of standard navigation, and a clear hierarchy of pages addressing single keywords, short keyphrases and long-tail.
While I find Google Instant very annoying, primarily because I type so quickly, it was a brilliant move on the part of Google to increase revenue and once again push organic results further down the page.