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How to Manipulate Google's Autosuggestions

Are you trying to influence or trigger google suggestions on your strategic and competitor keywords? Here are some pro tips.

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How does Google's Auto Suggest work?

Google Suggest is a feature designed for Google's search engine in order to save time typing for users. This feature is available primarily on the Chrome bar, Google homepage or Google App. Pretty much wherever you find a Google search box, you can discover Google autosuggest and get suggestions or completions for your search query.  

new york google autosuggest
The New York Times newspaper gets suggested over the actual city. That is great brand value.

Google Autosuggest acts as a dynamic prediction of a user's desired search term. By using sophisticated algorithms and lot's of data points, Google Autosuggest collects, aggregates, analyses, and produces dynamic predictions that best match a user's current search word or phrase. These are some of the primary factors used to generate this prediction:

  • Search history: The data automatically stored in the user’s search history is shown once that user types a search term that partially matches searches in history. This data is saved when a user logs into a Google account before using Google search engine or using the same IP for searches.
  • Location and language: Based on the location and language settings of the user, Google Autosuggest offers localized recommendations based on their area and language. For example, if I started searching "best restaurants...", Google will probably fill the rest with my location
  • Popularity of search: Search words or phrases may start the same, but the most common "full query" is usually what google will aim to suggest. This is based on the overall volume of the query but in general, the algorithm will try and surface what others are already searching for.

As a lot of users have said, Google autosuggest appears to read minds. But more importantly, it influences people's searches a lot. Most people don't have a perfect idea of what they are looking for and will often look at the suggestions as recommendations.

What is the impact of triggering Google suggestions?

Reputation Management

the word scam suggested next to brand search
Even banks can fall prey to reputation harm from Google suggestions.

Google Autosuggest is very important for online reputation. This feature of search prediction could be either opportunity or a danger for the online reputation of your business or brand name. It can be both beneficial or extremely detrimental for businesses or individuals.

In a way, Google Autosuggest is the place where users can get their first impression about somebody or some brands. There are many studies showing that first impressions are very difficult to change and it can affect the customer's affection for someone or some brand. For example, if someone start's search your brand and the first suggestion is " <your brand> scam", they are very likely to immediately develop distrust.

If the first impression is good, customers remember that person or that brand the positive way, and in the opposite, if the first impression is bad, it is very hard to change their look towards the brand later on.

Influencing Search & Brand Awareness

Almost 75% of the search queries are influenced in some way by Google Autocomplete. The Google dropdown predictions has a chance to affect or change the user's search path they may have not even intended to purse in the first place.

Having your brand name show after your important strategic or money keywords is huge for making users aware of who you are. Even if they don't click on your immediately, in the human subconscious brain seeing the brand repeatedly helps influence their decisions down the road and they might revisit your site later on. The more consumers see your brand and company name appear in those predictions, the higher trust they will assign to your business.

How do you manipulate or influence suggestions?

The best method here is to control how users are searching for your keywords. Here are some quick things you can do:

  • Use Google Keyword Planner tool to plan for the right keywords. Since Google Autocomplete API is no longer accessible, Keyword Planner is the closest way to access search data from Google search engine. Your should create SEO articles that target those searches and keywords. That way, once your website starts ranking on those queries, those keywords will start being associated with your brand in search suggestions.
  • Use Google Trends tool to approach real time search trends - at current time, date, month etc… or at a certain location. You can get inspiration from those trending keywords to create your own.
  • Listening to clients' reviews actively instead of waiting for them to make their way to damage your brand on Google Autosuggest. If you want to avoid negative Google autosuggestions, a fan page on social network, a comment box on your website or a space to get reviews from your clients on a third party website are recommended  to protect your online reputation by solving customer concerns in a timely manner. Don't let their reviews get onto sites that you don't control like Trustpilot since those will get indexed by the search engines.

Now all of these methods take a lot of time, usually months and sometimes years. Here is an even more in-depth guide on how to plan your keyword strategy. That said, a bad search suggestion can also be very costly and timely to undo. If you're looking for a shorter term way to drive search traffic and even improve your click through rate in the process, one of the easiest way is to use SearchSEO. Here are some steps to follow:

Step 1. Research the amount of traffic volume that is received by the keyword. It is important that you direct at least 10% of that traffic to your branded keyword so that google may suggest it to someone who is searching. This is a lot harder to do if your keywords see more traffic as you would have to drive proportionally large traffic to make a diffence and be noticed.

Step 2. Sign up for SearchSEO and create a project such that you receive that many clicks for the month using your branded keywords. If you need a custom package, feel free to contact us.

Step 3. Monitor and track suggestions to see if Google is starting to suggest your keywords. It may not always work, but we can guarantee quality traffic so at the very least it may positively affect your SERP ranking.

google autocomplete suggest agency
With the right amount of traffic, you can even get emojis in the suggestions! (This result is no longer there)