Google had a huge 2010, rolling out a whole suite of upgrades that not only significantly changed its signature, market-leading search engine services, but are proving to have a big impact on search marketing in general.

Key among these upgrades was Google Instant, rolled out in the fall of 2010. Google Instant was designed to save times on Internet searches, to the tune of “two to five seconds per search”, per the official Google Blog.

Reports are that Google Instant has already had big effects on SEO: “I have spoken to several SEO specialists and a number of directory/redirect sites,” writes Timothy O’Neil-Dunne at “The results are pretty universal. SEO has changed.”

“Left unattended (with no change in SEO refinement) the drop off in traffic was approx 30% after September 8,” O’Neil-Dunne continues. “In some cases, those that didn’t pay attention have seen this drop accelerate. One site management group told me that their drop from pre-September 8 to December 31 2010 was more than 50%.”

These changes were more pronounced in certain areas — specifically in vehicle sales and travel.

The damage is felt more by long-tail search marketing, since Google Instant basically interrupts a user’s search before he or she can finish typing. That means longer, long-tail searches are cut off too early. Sites based around long-tail searches are therefore more in harm’s way. 

“And it’s not going to get better,” O’Neil-Dunne concludes. “Thus there is a creeping realization that Google is not necessarily pro-consumer choice. It is Pro-Google and Pro-Consumer Laziness.”

Not everyone agrees, however. A commenter on O’Neil-Dunne’s article makes the interesting point that “if you combine Google Instant with the fact that people are searching with more words (i.e. for more specific products) one could argue that experience-based users are finding long tail sites faster as Google will suggest additional words.”

No report on how these changes have so far affected casino affiliates. But it’s expected that they will, especially if the U.S. congress chooses to regulate online gambling. At that point, Google would be expected to give online gaming the same focus it has travel, and that could upset a whole lot of casino affiliate marketing plans.

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