If Google’s Instant hasn’t been enough to annoy you lately, maybe their new update to it will. Now with Instant turned on, you’ll notice that the #1 result for your Google search, whether a sponsored result or not, will have a little blue arrow to the left of it. I read somewhere that this has been implemented in the spirit of Instant aiming to cut the time down from when a searcher begins typing to when they select their destination. That may be so as I’m sure searchers will be unexplainably drawn to that little blue arrow and, just as Instant does, this update will also give even more power to that #1 ranking on Google’s infamous first page of results. I’m willing to bet that no one, especially not your average searcher that Google is focusing on, is able to restrain their eyeballs from checking out that little blue arrow. I’ve also read somewhere that this is a navigation enhancement – and it’s true that you can use the arrow keys to drop the arrow to the #2 result, #3, and so on, then press “Enter” to select the web page – but grandma and grandpa aren’t going to be smart enough to think of that. The effect then, is even more power and attention, and probably even more visits, to that #1 spot.
When Google’s search results are presented, there is an overload of information and text and this new arrow will be used to draw in the bewildered Googler to the result with the pretty blue arrow next to it. This will work much like the sponsored results and the new Google Maps tags that use color to call the attention of the searcher and separate themselves from the sea of white, text, and blue links. My opinion is that the update just seems like more bad news in terms of search engine quality as searchers might get to their first destination fastest, but are even less likely to consider the several other options available. The several other options are part of what makes the internet and search engines great – letting the user get a glimpse of the huge amounts of information that exists out on the web and allowing them to decide what seems to work best. If Google wants to start narrowing things down and becoming a “decision engine” or maybe even a prediction engine, then I guess we’ll see what happens, but I think micro searches are best left to smaller websites with a more specific subject matter. Either way, this means one thing for webmasters and SEO’ers – fight, fight, fight for that #1 spot.