02 Nov

When you type words into the search box on Google, you will be shown some suggestions of associated terms in a dropdown menu. This feature is called “Google Search Suggest”. Google Search Suggest or Autocomplete was first introduced by Google in 2008, but it was actually had been launched as an experimental feature since 2004. It got a renewed attention with the update of Google Instant. This feature can automatically displays relevant results but you may ignore them and keep googling with your own search terms.

Google search suggestion was launched to help users find information they are looking for. It’s helpful, because:

  • Save time for searching and typing. It allows you to choose from suggestion and find the information faster.
  • Spell corrections. Try searching for “Jakrta” on Google. And you can see that Google will give you suggestion like: “Did you mean: Jakarta Indonesia?” and will give you more common spelling for what you are looking for.
  • Repeat a favorite search. You can also choose from the previous search that you’ve done in the past. It can happen if you have signed in to your Google account and have your “search history” turned on.

How Google Search Autocomplete works?

Google Search Autocomplete works based on these factors:

Real searches

The suggestions that offered by Google are based on what people actually search previously. Popularity of the keyword is the key factor to the ranking of suggestion result. If there are more people search for a particular keyword, then it has a bigger chance to appear as a suggestion on Google search.

Location and language used by user

Suggestion which is given by Google may vary by location and language used by user. Hence, not everyone in the world will get the same result even though they are using the same keyword that you use.  For example, if you search for keyword “TV” and set your location to Indonesia you will get Google search suggestion such as: “TV One”, “TV Online RCTI”, “TV Online SCTV”, which are the name of TV station in Indonesia. But if you change your location to Malaysia, those results will change to “TV Alhijrah”, “TV Malaysia”, and “TV 3”, as they are names of Malaysia’s TV station.

Language which is used by user also has the similar impact. The search result will be most likely different if you choose to use a particular language for or based on language you use in your browser settings.

Search’s freshness

Freshness layer, as Google calls, also has impact in the suggestion. When particular keywords become popular in short term, those keywords can also appear as suggestions, despite the fact that they don’t have a long-term popularity.  

This factor is important, because if Google just relies on long-term data, then most suggestion will be out-of-date, as some keywords only exist on short term period only. There are some cases which the suggestions have been seen appear only hours after some search trend have begun.

With the importance of search’s freshness it also means that some suggestions are being removed by Google. Stay tuned for more information about what factor made Google removes some suggestion keywords on DGtraffic ‘s next article. 

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