September 11th, 2010 | Lance, SEO Expert

Google’s new “look what we can do” instant search has just killed the Long Tail.

Now that search results show up as you are typing, it’s going to become progressively more rare that a searcher will search an entire phrase such as “credit card application for people with bad credit”, as once they hit “credit card app” they’ll most likely find all they need from national brands, advertisers and well-ranking, dominating sites.

Now lets look at how this affects a local small business.  I’ll use an example of a car repair shop. Say someone is looking to have some work done on their car in your local area. In an old google search, they would likely search something like “car repair {city}” and hit enter.  This gives you a good chance of ranking for this longer tail phrase, and attract local clients.  Your chances of ranking for just “car repair” are slim to none. Now, as someone starts to search for a car repair shop in their area, they’ll probably get as far as “car rep” before search results start showing up (the sites who rank for “car repair”). Well, good luck competing with Aamco or Pep Boys or any of the other national shops.

Here’s a great quote from an article over on Fast Company:

For example, if you’re Priceline, you’d be pretty miffed at not being able to compete on an even keel with Travelocity for the word “Travel,” which actually is a pretty big word. Words like “Cheap Airfare” or “Cheap tickets” are all very big volume generators for travel. Or let’s say I’m ABCBooks.com. The minute I’m competing with Amazon, I’m done for. By the time you type A, you’ll probably click on Amazon. Not everybody is going to click on Amazon, but there will be leakage–ABC customers will go to Amazon.

Also, don’t forget about ad impressions and clicks (the topic of the above article). With the new instant search, and attendant ads as you type, your impressions numbers are going to skyrocket.  Imagine again if you are promoting a car repair shop and someone stops partway through typing for a “car…pet cleaner”. You just got an impression for your car repair ad from someone looking for carpet cleaner. Your CTR goes down, your ad and account get lower quality scores, you pay more.

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