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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

Five Things Self-Storage Operators Should Know About Google Instant

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By Jim Bradbury

In September, Google launched a new search functionality called Google Instant. Here are a few FAQs every self-storage operator should know about this new search function and how it may affect marketing your self-storage business online.

1. What Is Google Instant? It’s a new feature that predicts what an online user is searching for, and shows results as the user types using Google’s auto-suggest technology.

2. What are the benefits? According to Google, it means f aster, smarter searches. Instant results allow searchers to find what they’re looking for without clicking a search button or pressing enter.

3. What’s changed, and what hasn’t? The basics of Google search are the same. Google has been predicting and suggesting search terms for at least a year based on personalized search history and location. Google Instant takes this feature a step further, displaying a full page of predictive results before the user is finished typing. With every character, the real-time results change, as do the paid ads and map listings. The new display pushes at least one organic result “below the fold,” and shows fewer multiple map listings in the results.

It’s important to note Google Instant doesn’t affect all Google search results. It can be turned off by users who don’t like it. And Google Instant is only available at Google.com. For the countless users who search exclusively in their browser toolbar, nothing will change.  

4. Does Google Instant “kill” search-engine optimization or impact rankings? No. A well-rounded approach to content development and optimization should actually benefit from Google Instant. Now it’s simply faster, and the results will change as the query changes.

5. Does Google Instant ruin my pay-per-click ads? No. Targeted pay-per-click ads continue to show as they normally would, just faster, and will change as the query changes.

We surveyed our own employees to find out what they think of Google Instant, and the responses were mixed. About half find it fast, convenient and time-saving. The other half complained it’s distracting and annoying and the auto-fill is unhelpful. Can Google really read our minds? If they’re tracking how many people opt to turn off this feature, they won’t have to.

Jim Bradbury is an account executive with G5, a provider of vertical-specific local marketing solutions. Jim is responsible for developing new partnerships in self-storage. He’s active in the Self Storage Association and is always eager to learn more about how self-storage operators are marketing their properties. G5 helps mid-market companies get found online, generate more qualified leads, convert more leads into new customers and track marketing performance.

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