08/10/2010

By Paul Martin, SEO Analyst, Epiphany Solutions Ltd

A while ago, Google Labs released a series of keyboard shortcuts allowing users to navigate search results without using a mouse. These shortcuts were complicated, clumsy and easily forgettable. While making the results accessible, the system wasn’t very user-friendly. Last Friday, the 1st October, Google rolled out its latest round of keyboard shortcuts which are far better, but in addition to enhancing navigation of SERPs, may have additional impacts in regards to SEO and PPC.

Website keyboard shortcuts have been common place for several years now on the internet, however often tend to be overly complicated and as such, aimed at allowing sites to be accessible to disabled visitors only, and not really intended for use by the majority. For example, below are the complicated shortcuts trialled by Google in Google Labs:

The latest Google keyboard shortcuts released on Friday are far more intuitive and utilise the arrow keys on your keyboard. Once a Google search has been performed and the enter key has been hit, a small allow cursor will appear to the left of the listings. Pressing the up and down arrows on the keyboard will move the onscreen cursor, and pressing enter will select that result and open the resulting website. This is only available via Google Instant at the moment which means you have to be signed in to a Google account.

I’ll let Google themselves explain further:


SEO and PPC Impacts

I’m not one to jump on the ‘SEO Is Dead’ bandwagon every time Google makes changes, however there is the possibility that this may see some knock-on effects to PPC.

The keyword shortcut cursor not only scrolls organic listings, but PPC also. When a search query has been entered and the enter key hit, the cursor is defaulted over the first PPC advert at the very top of the page. The impact may come with people hitting the enter key accidentally and visiting the first sponsored listing.

How people will interact with the new keyboard shortcuts (and ultimately, if it catches on at all) is yet to be seen. We will monitor user behaviour of this here at Epiphany, and should any impacts be seen, we’ll let you know!

Find out more about Epiphany Solutions Ltd at www.epiphanysolutions.co.uk