By PETER WYLIE, special to LTW

Editor’s note: Peter Wylie is a researcher at , a social media marketing company in Raleigh, N.C. He was previously an editor for an online business journalism company in Washington, D.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Google released a new update to its dominant search engine called which attempts to predict the search query a user is entering while they are typing and returns results before the user finishes typing.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) said this feature of the 25 seconds it takes users currently to complete their searches, by using the extensive data Google has collected on search behavior to make recommendations.

The business question that emerges is how exactly Google determines the results it returns for partial queries from users. Businesses that command top spot rankings for search terms with high traffic volume see significant numbers of people flock to their site each month because of these coveted rankings. If Google begins predicting search results, will that cause these businesses to lose that advantage? If they do, who will gain the search advantage in an Instant world?

Judging by the few criteria Google has hinted at in public releases (the Google algorithm is arguably the world’s most valuable trade secret), recency, relevancy, and popularity are three broad factors that it is now prioritizing. For the results that Google is returning now before a user is finished typing, businesses can expect content that is published frequently, optimized correctly, and visited regularly by users to be ranked highly.

To take advantage of this shift, businesses should integrate custom content creation into their digital marketing strategy, and they should assure that the content they are writing is optimized for the search terms that demonstrate purchase intent for their products or services.

Above all, however, businesses should think about their target customer and publish content that helps them learn more about their potential purchase. Google makes these changes for one simple reason: It thinks it will improve the search process for its customer. It continues to be dominant in search because its results are the best and easiest to use. Businesses can adapt to the new changes in the Google search delivery simply by committing to publishing fresh, relevant, up-to-date content that solves problems and answers questions. Users will "vote" on sites and articles they find useful by visiting them frequently and linking to their resources. This will help those businesses begin to rank higher in Google Instant search.

While Google will allow users to turn off the service if they find it annoying, the fact that it appears to save people time hints that it likely will become the new norm in search. Businesses would be wise to implement a couple small changes to their digital marketing strategy to respond to the change, in order to continue to deliver the information to consumers that leads them to become customers.

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