You may or may not have noticed that when you start typing words in Google’s search bar, it makes suggestions as to what you may be looking for, much in the same way as predictive text does with mobile phones. This is the Autocomplete function from Google.
While text prediction can lead to much misinterpretation by mobile phones, and have probably been the cause of many strange conversations and puzzled replies, Google Autocomplete is a neat and useful tool when you are conducting a search, as it saves you time and can make useful suggestions. It also has the added, though unplanned, benefit of potentially bringing a smile to your lips through ‘creative’ and unexpected autocompletion.
From a business point of view, Google Autocomplete can be somewhat tricky to harness and turn to your advantage. However, doing so has become an important Search Engine Optimisation task. These predictions are indeed based on general web activity of Google users, the content of the pages relevant to the search, and the keywords they were optimised for, so you want to make sure that neither your text nor your keywords lead to your web pages being picked up with negative connotations.
To avoid this, businesses can add a step to their SEO by searching for their name and keywords to see what Google Autocomplete makes of it. If there are any issues, they can influence them by creating company pages on social media sites, which Google highly regards, or on sites such as Wikipedia (if you are famous enough!). It will encourage positive predictive text.
Despite this quirk, the Autocomplete function can be a business’ best friend as it also allows for localised results and can help you rank higher in local searches, which levels the playing field, especially for SMEs.