The moment a user starts typing a word into Google’s search box, a dropdown list appears with suggested queries. Google finishes the user’s sentence before they’ve even had the chance to finish typing.
Although it sounds somewhat creepy, it’s just Google’s Autocomplete function trying to make the user’s life easier. By providing search suggestions, Google helps the user get to where they want to be quicker and more efficiently.
But how does Google Autocomplete work? And how might a business benefit from this functionality to power up their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? Find out below!
What is Google Autocomplete?
Google Autocomplete isn’t based on Google reading the user’s mind or anything like that. It’s all based on the inconceivably massive dataset at Google’s disposal containing data on 2.5 trillion searches per year.
Based on this data, Google can quite accurately predict what people might look for the moment they start typing a sentence. For example, type “how many” in the search bar, and a list will appear with suggestions such as “how many countries in the world” or “how many weeks in a year.”
This handy feature is called Google Autocomplete. It was designed to help users find the results they need faster. In fact, if we were to believe the Google gods themselves, it reduces typing by about 25%, which accumulates to saving 200 years of typing time every day!
How does Google Autocomplete predict queries?
As mentioned, the prediction of Google Autocomplete is based on Google’s massive data set.
Everything that’s typed into Google’s search box is known as a query or keyword (phrase). Google registers every search query it receives and counts how often each query recurs. Based on how often each query occurs every month, Google can predict which query is the most likely candidate when a user starts typing a query, such as “how many” in the search box.
For example, the query “how many people live in the world” might be typed into the search box (on average) 100,000 times every month. But the query “how many countries in the world” occurs about 500,000 times every month.
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If someone starts typing “how many” in the search box, Google will autocomplete the sentence with the second option because, based on the search volume, this is the most likely query the user is after.
Do note that this is the most common factor Google uses for its auto-complete functionality. Realtime trends and geographical location are among some of the other factors that are taken into consideration as well.
How can Google Autocomplete power up your SEO?
Since users receive these autocomplete suggestions when typing a query, it comes as no surprise that marketers are looking for ways to utilize this feature to power up their SEO efforts.
The most straightforward way in which Google Autocomplete can be used for SEO purposes is to perform keyword research.
For example, the simplest way is for a user to type a keyword they want to target into Google’s search box and to see what predictions Google Autocomplete shows.
The predictions will be related to keywords that users have looked for as well, alongside the original keyword. This way, the user can discover long-tail keywords that they can try to target in their content.
Taking it a step further, one can type a query and then go down the alphabet for the next word to see what predictions come up. So, for example, the user can start with the query “digital marketing,” then go to “digital marketing a,” then “digital marketing b,” and so on.
For every query, Google’s Autocomplete will produce a fresh list of query predictions.
Although this way of using Google Autocomplete for keyword research can provide valuable insights, it is quite time-consuming and labor-intensive. The user has to type a query and then manually note all predictions in a separate document/spreadsheet before moving on to the next query.
Luckily, one can use a third-party Google Autocomplete API and extract large volumes of autocomplete suggestions almost instantly and automatically. For example, SERPMaster’s Google Autocomplete API delivers the suggestion data based on users’ preferred location, device, or browser. If you’re interested in how SERPMaster’s Google Autocomplete API works, learn more by visiting this website.
Such an API uses a scraping tool that scrapes Google’s Autocomplete results and retrieves the predictions. This way works much faster than manually typing everything and can save the user a lot of time.
By automating this process, one can gain valuable keyword insights at scale that can help them power up their SEO efforts.