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Google Instant is not the same as traditional rankings - why?

     
10:23 pm on Jul 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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My sister just told me about one of her major pet peeves with Google and I thought it would make a good discussion topic. It might help if I explain how she uses Google so that you can picture the results.

A) She visits google.com and types in her keywords in hopes of finding what she wants.
B) She quickly glances at the instant results being displayed.
C) Happy at what she sees she finishes her typing with an instinctive tap on the return key, and that's when she pounds the keyboard.

Depending on what you're searching for the instant results you see when you're done entering your search terms are NOT the same results you'll see if you hit enter. They change. My sister says it drives her nuts when the result she WANTED to look at vanishes.

I explained to her how to turn off Google instant and she says that it never stays off, especially at work.

I played with Google instant a little bit and she's right, simply hitting return changes the order of rank on many serps. Why?
12:23 am on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Personal search kicking in or the likes?
2:25 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Instant results are the same as "traditional" results. What you and your sister are seeing are results for suggested searches where the suggested search is longer than what you have typed. When you hit return the SERPs revert to what actually was typed in.
10:24 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Makes sense Jim. I assumed Instant search results were, you know, results and not suggestions. Sis will just have to kick her reflex enter key pressing I suppose :-)
10:44 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I assumed Instant search results were, you know, results and not suggestions

Well, they are results, but they may be the results for the predicted suggestions.

Take a look at the Google Instant Launch Event [youtube.com] for a good primer on the hows of Instant.
1:31 pm on July 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Right, the instant results is connected to Google Suggest. While you are typing, you will probably see a suggested grey words in the field as you type along. It is worth knowing that the instant result displayed, is always the search result for the grey word suggested, not for the word you have typed so far. Does it make sense?

For example, when you start typing blue, "blue widget" might be the grey word in the search field. until you complete the whole word, the result will not change, because the result is for the keyword "blue widget". However, if you hit enter when you have only completed blue, then the search result displayed after you kit enter is for the keyword "blue", and it is certainly different from the results for blue widget.

Does it make sense?

The instant result is an illusion. It is actually a result for the suggested word, not a real results for what you have typed so far.
 

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