An interesting pickup from TechCrunch reveals that Google’s new Instant Search can actually favour brands over non branded terms.

Instant search allows users to see query results without having to press search. Below you’ll see that when the user begins to type God, Google begins to show both paid and organic results. However, instead of showing results for God, it actually shows GoDaddy, the domain registrar.

Why would Google do this?

Well I’m pretty sure it’s either to do with personalised search. TechCrunch author is regular visitor of GoDdady. Or the (more likely reason), it’s down to link popularity, where the sheer volume of links containing the letters “G-o-D” has forced Google to consider it for the search term God.

What does this mean for SEO?

Links still matter. How much so is still unknown. But this glitch helps restore my faith that Google won’t have complete control over what is suggested to users when they search. Also there maybe some room for manipulation or just a little bit anyway.

I will be testing instant search from an SEO stand point as soon as it becomes available for me so I’ll keep you posted.