We went to almost no sales as soon as instant went live yesterday on the east coast. It's infuriating because our conversion rate is something like 2.5x that of our competitors (we know this from trade meetings/shows) so we obviously give users what they want. Even the google benchmark service shows our bounce rate is way lower etc.
I think Google needs to stop trying to divine what people want. Leave this feature off, let people choose it if they want to. If we were talking traffic here it would be one thing, we're talking conversions which tells me smart consumers liked our site and are nw being directed elsewhere.
Talking to one of our major suppliers this am, sales inexplicably dropped yesterday for them after a month of steady gains and it impacted the much larger online players. So its not a matter of customers not finding us, they're not finding anything.
I just searched a medical term on Google and found 4 out of 10 results were medical-condition-fixes dot something which redirect me to generic drug sites overseas. Fix THOSE problems first, worry about user intent first.
I really feel Google is taking the cheap way out. Instead of allocating the resources to catch the scammers and cheats which would cost money they use algorithms to monkey up the system in half baked attempts to "fix" these types of problems. There's no free ride, if you want to run a good search engine you need to take out the trash every so often.
I've never seen so much garbage in the google results as I do now.