Google Instant Pages: Instant Page Loading, Unless Google Guesses Wrong


Google unveiled Instant Pages at their Inside Search Event yesterday. This new Chrome-only feature will reward top ranked sites with what will appear to users as instantaneous page loading. Google touts that this will save between 2 and 10 seconds of time waiting for pages to load.

Instant Pages will be triggered when Google has “a very high confidence” that a website is the exact result users are looking for. While a user scans the search results pages, Google will begin pre-rendering the top result, making it so Chrome users won’t have to wait for text, images, or even JavaScript to load. Google’s pre-rendering technology will arrive in an upcoming Chrome release (desktop and mobile) that is currently in the developer channel and will be in beta next week.

Instant Pages Impact on SEO

Increasing page load speed is nothing new to those who have followed Google news over the last couple years. Greg Habermann recently recapped Google’s obsession with speed in “A New Tool for Optimizing Page Speed: Google’s Page Speed Online.” 

Beyond making sure your website loads quickly, it doesn’t seem like Instant Pages should be a consideration in your Google-friendly SEO strategies.

“Search traffic will be measured in Webmaster Tools just like before this feature, with only results the user visited counted,” noted Ziga Mahkovec on the Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google says most websites will work correctly when pre-rendered in Chrome, but also notes that “triggering prerendering for the wrong site could lead to the link the user did click on loading more slowly.” But there’s good news: Google is “fairly accurate” at predicting when to pre-render. Wait, that’s the good news?

So in an attempt to speed up the web by preloading one site per search query, Google might also be slowing down a great deal of website loading speed at the same time. Great news for sites that aren’t ranked number one, huh?

To test your pages, Google offers a sample page.

Instant Pages Impact on PPC

For advertisers, Google says this won’t improve page loading time if a user clicks on one of your ads. However, Google indicated they could extend the platform to PPC later.

Could this mean more (potential) hits for advertisers?

“If you shave 15ms from search process, users will search more and more,” said Google fellow Amit Singhal at Google’s Inside Search event yesterday. “By speeding things up this much its great of users and great for Google  a classical win-win situation.”

Final Thought

If Google is so confident that you’re going to be served a site that they’ll pre-render it, and Google is so confident in the quality (or “relevance”) of their search results, then why do they need users to block sites? Why do they need users to rank sites with Google +1?

Add in Schema, and authorship markup, and it starts to become clear that, as Barry Adams pointed out yesterday, more and more we’re doing Google’s job for them. Perhaps those accusations that Google’s technology is quickly becoming obsolete aren’t so far from the truth.

Google Search with Instant Pages Video

Iain Thomson also contributed to this report.

Related reading

SEO survey 2019 - Stats on competitor research
How to lead SEO teams and track its performance effectively: Experts tips
SEO is a team sport: How brands and agencies organize work
How to pitch to top online publishers: 10 exclusive survey insights