The Pros & Cons of Google Suggest For Search Engine Optimizers and Beyond!

Aug 28, 2008 | 6,102 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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A couple of days ago, we had reported about the inception of Google Suggest, a search suggestive feature that has been designed by Google to simplify the user search experience, by providing highly accurate search suggestions. As per Google, “we're excited because Google Suggest will be "graduating" from Labs and available by default on the Google.com homepage. Over the next week, we'll be rolling this out so that more and more of you will start seeing a list of query suggestions when you start typing into the search box.”

One of the biggest effects that Google Suggest might have on the search experience would be that the searches will most probably lose the long tail keywords. The chances are that, users would not manually input long search queries, instead would rather rely on Google Suggest and prefer the short tail queries suggested by Google.

google10 The Pros & Cons of Google Suggest For Search Engine Optimizers and Beyond!

As Martin Bowling explains, “Google will now be forcing users into high-volume, high-money terms (i.e., terms that people are bidding on via Adsense) it's almost like Google is creating a new Top 10 before the user is ever even taken to the SERPs. By having your primary keywords that you are ranking for listed in this drop down, you are far more likely to get traffic than those related terms that aren't being listed. When presented with options, people will generally choose one.”

However, as we also conduct and maintain PPC campaigns at PageTraffic, we have observed that the Google Suggest feature is especially impactful for our efforts and like all other PPC firms, we would also like to be on top of our game and be aware of the phrases that are suggested frequently as well as relevantly and bid accordingly.

Over at Site Creations, Scott Clark, has put up a very interesting post that highlights the 9 potential ways, through which Google Suggest might change the pattern of search marketing. These potential steps are:

  1. Google Suggest Drop Down a new micro “SERP”: “Those who make their way into the suggest feature get a “better than #1″ position. For example, typing “ipod case” into Google with Suggest shows the first suggested feature as “ipod cases at Wal-Mart” – grabbing people and then offering up the organic page free from PPC ads that use “Wal-Mart” in their keywords.”
  2. Google Suggest Results May Change Long-Tail Search Optimization: “Those of us who believe in doing long-tail marketing may find an decrease down the tail from search, and a greater need to develop segments of our site to serve those long tail queries. Searches that used to come in with two word phrases may now have 3-4 words, which helps with medium-tail optimization, but longer phrases previously further down the tail may be “clipped.” This will concentrate search terms so that Adwords bids will rise and competition increases in a sort of 'cluster' effect.”
  3. We May See More Traffic to Regional Sites: People regularly enter 'cheap gas' and 'best dentist' in search engines – without qualifying the searches at all. Organic results tend to send people to national portals, but suggest-driven search gets them closer to well optimized, regional sites. A search for 'cheap gas' without search suggest offers gasbuddy.com at number one organic result, while a 'suggested' search for 'cheap gas houston' gives houstongasprices.com.
  4. Google Suggest SERPS offer More Impact for Trademark Blocking in PPC: “If your tradename is offered in
    Google suggest results, and you’ve filed a trademark complaint form, the results page will be free from paid competition giving you a better shot at the traffic through organic or ppc links.”

  5. Google Suggest Can Improve User/Searcher Skills Forever: “With Google suggest constantly popping up when you go about your daily queries, many who never really thought of keyphrases will now start to think about them. It will be a constant reinforcement of our efforts to think about how consumers search. We may have to adjust our planning to meet these enhanced skills.”
  6. Google Suggest Can Be an Ad-Hoc Negative Keyword Tool: “There are other ways to be more comprehensive, but Google suggest can help to identify negative keywords you may want to enter in your campaigns. And I saw some negative phrases with higher index numbers that never showed up in Google keyword tools.”
  7. Dramatically Reduced Spelling Error Opportunity: “While many of us set up ad-groups to capture spelling errors, this will have a decreasing impact as people start to use the suggest feature as a live auto-correction. Typo-campaigns may get less traffic.”
  8. Hijacking Google Suggest May Become a SEO Technique: “It may become possible to hijack Google suggest so that competitive phrases are strategically flashed to the user. For example.. if you sell “abc widget” then a suggest of “abc widget fails miserably” could be used to divert traffic.”
  9. Better Searches Offer Improved Analytics Information: “With the user making clear choices among those available, we’ll have better information about what is enticing and engaging to the users. Vague, high volume two-word searches are always confusing when we’re looking to make decisions, and this might just help us plan better.”
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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail The Pros & Cons of Google Suggest For Search Engine Optimizers and Beyond!
4.thumbnail The Pros & Cons of Google Suggest For Search Engine Optimizers and Beyond!