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Google Autocomplete: A Complete SEO Guide

Google Autocomplete: A Complete SEO Guide
Written by Publishing Team

Google Autocomplete is a controversial but powerful search feature.

When you type a word, or even a letter, into Google, it populates a list of search suggestions. That’s what autocomplete is.

SEO professionals, paid search marketers, content marketers, and social media managers can all benefit from using Google’s autocomplete feature to help with various projects focused on keywords and intent exploration.

On the other hand, Google autocomplete often makes up the news for funny, weird, or even offensive habits (often in a negative way).

People use autocomplete constantly, saving thousands of seconds per day, but it has also been blamed for political cover-ups and spoiling of movies, TV shows, and video games.

Google autocomplete can also be a powerful marketing tool. Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals and other digital marketers have used it for years to inform strategy, get keywords, and find important questions that customers have.

They can use autocomplete to better enhance the digital characteristics of customers and the content and messages that make up them.

This guide will help you understand the true power that this simple but very useful feature can offer to help with your daily tasks.

What is google autocomplete?

Google’s own words, Google’s autocomplete feature is designed to “make it faster to complete the searches you start typing.”

It’s integrated across Google Search and other Alphabet features that use Google, including the “omnibox” on Chrome.

Google estimates that, cumulatively, it saves more than 200 years of typing every dayOn average, it reduces writing overall by about 25 percent.

The primary purpose of the autocomplete dropdown is to reduce the time a user spends typing by providing predictions of what the user might type in – including for websites that use Google’s built-in Custom Search Engine feature.

Although autocomplete has been a desktop search feature since late 2004, it has become more useful as a time-saving feature on mobile devices.

Typing on a mobile device is a little trickier than doing it on the big keyboards we’ve grown used to, so it’s a welcome tool to offer help and save time for many.

There are many other useful ways the feature can be used to leverage content ideas, keyword suggestions, intent exploration, online reputation management, and other data-driven tasks.

How does autocomplete work?

Former Google employee Kevin Gibbs created the project, originally called “Google Suggest” by another former Google employee, Marissa Mayer.

Since then, Google has shied away from the “Suggest” name because it doesn’t always provide the most thoughtful, interesting, or relevant predictions.

Google describes completions as making “predictions,” not “suggestions.” This is because of how autocomplete works.

Autocomplete is supposed to help people complete the sentence they meant – not to indicate search intent, as with “I feel lucky”. They set expectations by looking at popular searches on Google, including searching popular searches that may be relevant.

This allows the autocomplete to quickly update and adapt to new research trends and news stories.

Much of the autocomplete behavior is generated by the computer, collecting data from millions of other Google searches and their results, including the content on those pages. It also takes information from your search history, location, and other data points.

Google has also done a lot of work, to avoid inappropriate or offensive autocomplete suggestions. This means that there are automatic and manual removal actions that can affect the remaining autocomplete suggestions.

Autocomplete is also linked to the knowledge graph, especially on mobile, and can provide knowledge graph suggestions in prediction.

Google didn’t create an “autocomplete” feature in the default search engine until 2008 (previously a subscription feature).

Best ways to use Google’s autocomplete feature

1. Keyword Research

It’s a long, tedious and tedious task, but it’s also the foundation of all SEO strategies – and it has been for a long time.

Although we may not explicitly target keywords, keywords and the ideas associated with them will always be an important part of search marketing.

Keyword research is one of the first tasks tackled at the beginning of a post – and carried out throughout the post – to understand not only the brand and content you create, but also potential deficiencies, strengths, and weaknesses of your website and content gaps.

Autocomplete doesn’t do all the work for you in terms of keyword research, but it’s a great place to start or use it early and often when developing content calendars and general organic search strategies.

Use it (along with other keyword resource tools like Google Keyword Planner and other third-party keyword databases) to get an idea of ​​the right keywords you want to target by considering monthly search frequency, competition, and even CPC Pricing will do justice to your search strategy.

One of the great advantages of Google Autocomplete is its ability to detect long, high-quality phrases that are commonly searched for across the web.

Since the primary metric for autocomplete is popularity – based on real searches done by users in real time – the value of autocomplete lies in the large amount of keyword-level data that you can search for if you work hard and long enough.

As always, be sure to sign out of Google to ensure personalization is restricted for an unbiased look at prospects.

Long-tail keywords are incredibly useful when filling content gaps but they also provide endless possibilities in terms of high-value blog posts and educational content in a brand niche.

2. Exploring Intention

Understanding the intent of the user is important because it guides the purpose of the page, its message, its layout, and even the images. We know that pages perform best when they exactly meet the user’s intent in the search query.

You can use autocomplete to better understand the user’s intent, but doing so can be tedious and painstaking. Spending time visiting many different web pages in search results associated with specific predictions will take time, focus, and content consumption. But the information you can extract from this method is invaluable.

Keywords overlap with different stages of user intent, and without more keyword context, it can be difficult to understand the intent.

Autocomplete will help you not only understand long, high-value keywords and the intent surrounding them, but it will also help marketers learn about the volume of content around certain stages of intent, as well as longer phrases and stages of intent that can be optimized as a higher priority.

Of course, for high value keywords – long or traditional phrases of one, two or three words – it is important to satisfy all phases of intent as it relates to high value keywords.

This is the idea behind a high-quality, comprehensive search strategy. And autocomplete can help you get there.

3. Online reputation management

Autocomplete has also been important in the field of online reputation management.

Remember, when a user searches for your name or your brand name, the first thing they see, even before your site on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), are the autocomplete predictions associated with that name.

If these expectations are negative, or even if one of them is negative, they could have a real impact on your business performance.

think about it. you are searching [Dog Washers Inc] The first prediction ends with “Lost the dog,” you probably won’t feel very keen on bringing your dog there to his next bath.

The same for a restaurant; if you search [Ted’s Seaford Spot] The prediction ends with “e. Coli,” I have a pretty good idea of ​​what not to eat tonight.

Autocomplete is an important part of online reputation management (ORM) and can’t be ignored when working to balance all negative communications with brands.

One must be vigilant, just like most ARMS strategies. Several ways brands can work to offset negative autocomplete expectations are:

  • Control your brand conversations to ensure you make the right connections in Google Autocomplete.
  • Optimizing your social media account reinforces positive connections that may be overshadowed by negative ones.
  • Social media content, messaging and engagement are in line with the above improvements and the brand’s voice and tone.
  • Consistent branding and messaging for profile sites with positive keyword associations used elsewhere
  • Start small and make an impact by finding positive brand links from different websites. Obviously, the more people, the better. But you will be amazed at the effect it can have.
  • Build backlinks to Google SERPs to get positive keyword engagements in your name; things like [sam hollingsworth seo writer] And [sam hollingsworth handicapper] It would be a great start for someone like me. 😊
  • If there are negative autocomplete suggestions, make sure you have a strategy for how to address them.

4. Content creation and exploration

You can now also use autocomplete to create content and explore competitor content for your own content ideas. It’s easy and fun to use the autocomplete feature along with other online writing tools, to see what web users are looking for.

questions and answers

Just looking at who, what, where, when and why along with some branding questions can get you to a lot of FAQs – questions that people might actually be searching for.

Related words

You can do this in many ways and for many reasons. The easy way is “brand name comparison” – Google will autofill with competitors. You can also look at the “brand name” and see what the autocomplete detects there – finding ways to expand your brand.

Related topics

If you can find autocomplete suggestions for related topics, which are not covered by your main topic, you may have the advantage of developing some content in that niche.

Queries like “how *works” can be invaluable, and autocomplete fills the wildcard space with suggestions. You can also do this to find questions about your brand, questions for content marketing, find issues that potential customers are looking for, and even see if users are searching for certain social media accounts.

Screenshot of Google search, November 2021

Autocomplete policies

With a history of backlash due to some of its search predictions, Google works manually to prevent inappropriate autocomplete predictions when it comes to:

  • Explicit sexual predictions.
  • Predictions of hate against groups and individuals.
  • violent predictions.
  • Hazardous and harmful activities in forecasts.

It may also remove predictions that could be considered spam, facilitate or advocate hacking, or if a legal request is made to do so.

Google states that it removes predictions related to any of the above situations unless they contain medical or scientific terms that are not harmful.

Looking for feedback

To better control inappropriate autocomplete predictions, Google launched its own feedback tool and uses the data to continually make improvements.

For example, it is not necessary for a particular demographic to be targeted with something inherently repugnant; And comments help to discover this faster and easier.

google-autocomplete-report-inappropriateScreenshot of Google search, November 2021

Understanding what people are actually searching for is an essential part of your SEO strategy.

Learn how to integrate Google’s autocomplete feature into your search. You might be surprised by the specific keywords and search intent they reveal!

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / Fonstra

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Publishing Team