Say Hello to Google Suggest
If you haven’t heard of Google Suggest yet, it is time for you to listen up. At the beginning of last week, Google added a feature to their homepage called Google Suggest. If you have ever played around in Google Labs, you have already seen Google Suggest (which has been present in Google Labs for quite some time). If you haven’t tried out Google Suggest in Google Labs before, all you need to do is head to the Google homepage and start typing in a search query.
As you can see from the image above (or the search query you began to type into the Google homepage), Google Suggest is all about providing users with relevant search terms based on what they have started to type into the search box. As usual, Google states that the purpose of Google Suggest is to provide a better experience for their users. While this may be true, many experts have also speculated that this is an attempt to increase their AdWords revenue by driving users towards the money terms (more popular keywords that require a higher bid from PPC marketers).
So, what does Google Suggest mean for SEOs and internet marketers. Although it may seem like a minor change, Google Suggest may have some serious implications on the search industry. While it will take some time for us to begin to see the true impact of Google Suggest, here are some observations about Google Suggest that I have noticed during its first week in mainstream existence:
Misspellings are Going to Be Less Important: In the past, you could pick up nice amounts of traffic by optimizing pages for common misspellings. However, Google has slowly curbed the opportunity to pick up traffic from misspellings with their Did you mean feature, and as you can see from the screenshot above, they are putting another nail in this strategy’s coffin. So, if you have been pulling in a lot of traffic through misspellings (whether it’s paid or organic), it’s probably a good time for you to start diversifying your strategies.
SEOs May Need to Switch Their Focus to New SERPs: Although one and two word keywords will still be extremely important for SEOs to rank highly for, Google Suggest may be bringing new sets of keywords and SERPs onto SEOs radars. For example, I have a celebrity website that ranks on the first page of results for that celebrity’s name. However, when you begin to type that celebrity’s name into the Google homepage, the first term that shows up in Google Suggest is celebrity’s name.com. Therefore, I have already begun optimizing my site to rank for this term (along with a few other terms that are now appearing in Google Suggest).
As Search Skills Improve, So Will Our Information: As searchers become more accustomed to searching with the types of terms that Google Suggest provides them, their searching style will become more focused and less sporadic. Although this means that the long tail may become less significant, it will allow SEOs and internet marketers to look at analytics data that is more focused and provides better insight into the actual thought process that goes through searchers’ minds when they are looking for something online.