Yesterday, Google made search better. They did! Honest! Just Ask Them!
Umm … better for SEO Consultants, maybe. Worse for you, though.
Google has announced a new feature in their search algorithm that they’re calling Google Instant Pages. And the way it works is pretty cool: when you search for something, Google will send the actual web page for the #1 result of your search to you immediately. The result is that if you click on the link, you won’t have to wait for the page to load; it’ll already be on your computer.
Unlike Google Instant, which guesses at what you are searching for as you type letters in a search query, or Google Preview, which puts little thumbnail pictures of search result web sites next to your search results, Google Instant Pages creates absolute bias. It’s great for Google. It’s great for Google’s advertisers. It’s also great for companies like ours; we do Search Engine Optimization, and if Google Instant Pages makes it so that you now need to be #1 instead of merely “ranked highly”, well … I smell a price hike, people!
But it’s only great for you if you happen to think clicking the first result in a Google search is the way to go. And while it might not really hurt you even if you aren’t a “first-result monkey”, make no mistake; Google Instant Pages will increase your use of bandwidth, for stuff you may not care about.
A plot to get you to consume more bandwidth, as I half-jokingly suggested last week in my commentary on Google Music? Probably not. But if you’re paying for your bandwidth, Google Instant Pages, like Google Preview, will eat into your allotment without necessarily doing anything for you.
I guess what bothers me most about Google Instant Pages isn’t that Google’s created this monster of dubious value. It’s that in describing it, Google honcho Amit Singhal has used some numbers that just can’t be right.
Singhal says that average web pages are now about 700K in size and that loading a page of that size takes about five seconds. But Answer Guy Central’s home page is between 200K and 300K, takes 2.5 seconds to load, and according to Google, this makes it faster than 56% of all sites:
Odd, No? We’re less than 1/3 the size of average, load in half the time of average, and are faster than 56% of everybody, all at once?
What this says is that Google is now doing all kinds of things across the company that differing departments aren’t aware of. Not really a surprise; that’s what happens when companies get big. But with Google telling us that fast pages get ranked higher for SEO purposes, it’s hard not to be concerned that Google’s left hand doesn’t know what Google’s right hand is doing.
If there’s ever been an argument for making sure your web site works as well as possible, this is it. You MUST get to the top of Google’s Search Results.
And if you like, I’m here to talk about it.