A few weeks ago Google rolled out the single biggest overhaul of their search engine by introducing instant search results. By now you’ve almost certainly have first-hand experience of how this is working, and I know that for myself I have discovered that it has enabled me to speed up my online searching and to find what I’m looking for more quickly, and by typing less.

Like most people, I can read much faster than I can type, and so it makes sense for a search engine to work to that ratio, providing us with results that we can read which will help us to decide what else we need to type, or what we need to change.

It is no longer necessary to type out long search phrases, hit ‘Enter’ and then see what the search engine gambling machine will throw us as our winnings.

At the time, and even since then, many people have been bemoaning this latest incarnation of the search engine Goliath, with claims that Google Instant has killed SEO.

However, I am really not convinced that is the case. Google instant search results have certainly changed the way in which SEO works, but I happen to think that it is to the advantage of smaller, and medium businesses in many cases. The reason is simple. Google search results have effectively killed off the importance of single keywords, which to be honest were little more than trophies for some companies.

I have long been advocating the need to focus more on longtail keywords and longtail SEO, and with Google instant search results I think that longtail optimisation has been given a real helping hand. After all, most of the popular single keywords would normally tend to appear in the middle of a phrase, rather than at the beginning. If you’re looking for a clockwork left-handed cheesegrater, then optimising for the word ‘cheesegrater’ is no longer going to do you much good, since it would almost certainly be the last word typed.

Optimising for the full phrase is not only going to mean your result will more likely be found, but with Google search results, you may even find that Google is suggesting your longtail key phrase for anyone who happens to start typing the work ‘clockwork’. Focus on those longtail key phrases, and try a few of them out to see how they’re performing.