While working on writing up today’s blog post on SEO, I’ve been running various Google searches. I’ve also been watching breaking news on today’s Google press conference. All week speculations have been rampant about what Google would be announcing at today’s event. The series of instantly responsive, color-changing logos they’ve used this week on the site led those in the industry to guess, correctly, that they’d be announcing the instant search feature that they’ve recently run live tests on. And as I went to Google to take another look at their latest logo, BAM! smacked in the face by Google Instant Search. The search results below my query were changing as I typed them. Before I had even finished my phrase, I had before me the SERP.

But Google Instant means more than just faster results. It also means that searchers will have the ability to refine their search much more quickly. On the FAQ page for the new feature, Google claims that rankings for search terms will not change. That means that if a website is the #3 result on a SERP, it will stay #3. However, with suggested search terms constantly readjusting themselves as you type and displaying results below, the frequency of user searches for specific terms is likely to change.

For instance, say I’m looking for articles and websites about sustainable living. Normally I’d have to type in the entire phrase and hit return before I got any idea of what the results would be. But now, as I type, the first results that appear are actually for sustainable development, not sustainable living. Of course, if I go on to type in my entire phrase, I’ll get the results I usually would. But what if I notice that the results for sustainable development actually have some interesting entries? I may never go on to type in sustainable living, which means that any web page that ranks for that phrase will now lose my eyes to the pages that rank for sustainable development.

On the FAQ page, Google states, “Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.” So you may not know what you’re looking for, but apparently Google does.