Google Says, “Later Tater” to Instant Search
Remember the good old days when you’d type your search query in Google and the search results would populate below and change as you refined your search? Yeah, me too!
But, sadly, those days are gone. Forever. In case you need a refresher on what Google Instant looked like, it’s the live results that used to pop up beneath the suggested searches. Here’s a GIF of what used to happen:
Over the last 7 years, Google users have become used to the Google Instant search feature as it was just a part of the platform loved by so many around the world. As many users where hen-pecking the keys on their keyboard, Google would instantly refresh and update search results. Cool, right?
Yeah, it was cool – maybe. But that flickering of the Google search results was kinda annoying…
For those of you who just opened a new tab in your browser of choice (it should be Chrome btw) to test this feature, I’m sure you just went, “Ohh… I think I noticed something different earlier.” Google’s Instant Search feature was just part of the search experience, but was it necessary? Maybe at the time, but not now – not in a mobile-forward world.
As of 2015, the number of Google searches on mobile devices officially crossed the 50% mark with no intentions of going back to desktop searches ruling the roost. It’s because of this shift that Google chose to remove the Google Instant Search feature. In a recent statement to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson said:
We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.
But what about the suggested searches?
Your search suggestions are still a part of the Google you know and love. I don’t foresee those going anywhere anytime soon. They’re too valuable and helpful. You just won’t have the search results loading as you type. Big whoop.
So, what’s the takeaway here?
Google has been clear that their goal is to prioritize mobile. In fact, Google was clear back in 2015 when that told us that “Google Search will be expanding its use of the mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” It’s more important than ever before to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Not sure what constitutes mobile-friendliness? Go right to the source and use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This free tool from Google will analyze any domain and provide actionable results to fix any issues. It looks at factors like:
- Font size: Is the text too small to read?
- Viewport: This has to be set since it controls how your site is displayed on mobile.
- Crowded elements: If clickable elements are too close, the user experience is crap.
If you’re in-house at a company or you run your own business building websites, it’s VITAL to have your sites compliant. Use this free tool, run the test, and get those sites working on mobile NOW.
Need help making your site mobile-friendly?
I can help there too. I am a consultant and 16+ year veteran website designer. Contact me today for help. Cheers.