Google To Push Its Search Suggestions
The fun news from Google is that Google Search Suggest has graduated from Google Labs and will be rolled out to Google.com sometime this week. Kind of neat and exciting, right? Of course Yahoo, Live and Ask already offer this functionality but it’s more noteworthy now that Google’s doing it since Google owns virtually the entire search market and it will be in front of eyeballs all over the Interwebz.
It seems silly and frivolous to pay so much attention to one feature’s Google Lab’s graduation, but this one actually is pretty important. It has the potential to really change the way users search and it may even affect the way SEOs optimize their Web sites and run campaigns.
For users, gone are the days of racking your head trying to come up with the correct spelling of “Pennsylvania” or, even worse, “analytics”. (Well, assuming users take advantage of Google Suggest and don’t start massacring words when the correct spelling is staring them in the face.) It will also help them to search smarter, as Google is probably way better suited to decipher what users “meant to type” as opposed to what they actually asked for. And perhaps even better, users get to ward off carpal tunnel by allowing Google to auto-complete their searching. Huzzah for usable wrists at the age of 30!
For SEOs, a mainstream Google Suggest feature is interesting for an entirely different set of reasons. Many SEOs have long used Google Suggest as a keyword research tool, taking advantage of the popularity metrics it reports for the terms and related terms users type in. And now it won’t be just SEOs using Google Search to find popular searches, users will be using it as well. Users who will then take Google’s lead and conduct searches on the phrases Google has told them best match what they’re looking for. Can you imagine the traffic that comes along with ranking well for a Google-created query?
And can you imagine how many SEOs will now be focusing on these terms with their PPC efforts as they try and bring more eyeballs to their ad? Yeah, hello bidding wars on the Google-approved queries related to your keywords. And what do bidding wars create? PPC backlash and a renewed motivation to rank organically. Yey search engine optimization! It’s fun when things come full circle.
Even though Yahoo’s Search Assist feature is still arguably the better keyword tool for users, it’s going to be interesting to watch Google Suggest grow and see what impact it has on SEO and users searching behavior.
Will confused users ignore the feature or will they take to it, ultimately giving more traffic to a smaller set of pre-defined queries? What about the long tail? Are we going to see more searchers using shorter, pre-defined search queries? Will search marketers start targeting campaigns around the queries that Google suggests instead of the terms most relevant for their clients’ Web sites? It’s going to be interesting to watch.