Free SEO Tools: Google Autocomplete

Google Autocomplete is one of the best free SEO tools you can have in your search marketing arsenal. Created specifically to “make it faster to complete searches that you’re beginning to type,” according Google itself, Google Autocomplete is a user-focused feature that also helps marketers better understand their audiences.

The search function has been around since 2004 and it’s legendary, sometimes for all the wrong reasons. Google Autocomplete has been known to deliver some offensive predictions (don’t call them suggestions), but new functionality has been worked in to prevent and report those that are inappropriate.

While Google champions Autocomplete as a tool that “saves 200 years of typing time every single day,” we of course think its biggest benefit is the insight it offers into the consumer’s mind. Google Autocomplete not only provides predictions based on a current search, it aggregates search information related to all stages of the buyer’s journey.

If used correctly – meaning in combination with other search engine optimization tools as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy – Google Autocomplete can offer invaluable information for the marketing professional.

Who Should be Using Google Autocomplete?

Search engine optimization professionals, digital marketing departments, in-house marketing agencies, paid search marketers, social media managers and content marketers should become familiar with the advantages of Google Autocomplete if they’re not already. And, they should immediately incorporate this SEO tool into their marketing toolbox.

Google Autocomplete helps all types of professionals in the digital marketing sphere better optimize their own assets as well as their clients’. The powerful free feature assists with day-to-day tasks as well as long-term strategies.

Google Autocomplete

How Does Google Autocomplete Work?

Autocomplete shows predictions according to what Google thinks users “were likely to continue entering” in various search spots across the internet. It completes queries by looking at real searches that take place on Google and showing common (and trending) predictions relevant to the characters users begin to type.

Location and past searches affect Google Autocomplete. This is vital for a marketer to know because uncleared personal cache could skew results that ideally would be based on others’ searches.

Google Autocomplete is available in most places where you’d find a Google search box including on Google’s homepage, in the search bar on the Google Chrome browser and in the Google app for Android and iOS.

To play around with Google Autocomplete, begin to type New York in a Google search box. You’ll see that Google catches on to your search intention pretty quickly. The more you type, the more predictions you’ll see and the more refinement in what’s offered. You should notice that an initial search of New York can morph into some pretty interesting results when you add words like hotel, hotel in Times Square, etc.

Users may see either words or phrases come up as predictions. Google Autocomplete is especially helpful to users on mobile, Google says, because the function significantly decreases the amount of time and effort spent typing into a small screen.

As a marketer, you should make note of that last sentence. Google Autocomplete is a feature specifically created to help mobile users, which are the users you need to be interested in considering roughly 60% of searches come from mobile devices.


Using Google Autocomplete for Keyword Research

Much of Google Autocomplete predictive behavior is computer generated. Data is collected from millions of Google searches and from their results. Google Autocomplete scours the content of millions of search-related websites. You can probably imagine the help Autocomplete can offer a marketer looking for keywords – including long-tail keywords – that are appropriate for a specific target audience.

Keyword research can be a long and laborious task, but it’s an essential part of an SEO strategy. Even though we don’t utilize keywords exactly the same way as we did just a few years ago (think about those spammy keyword-stuffed articles you’ve likely read), researching keywords and what users are typing into search bars has the potential to appropriately shape content and fill in content gaps.

Google Autocomplete Helps Discover User Intent

Discovering and understanding user intent is key for a marketer because it guides content and offers ways for brands to fulfill consumers’ needs. Any content you put out will rank better and be considered more valuable when it’s relevant to users needs – meaning it matches their intent.

Google Autocomplete is an excellent way to help gauge intent across the buyer journey. But, keep in mind that results will need to be paired with more context to provide as complete a picture as possible of a consumer. Using Autocomplete can assist in identifying high-value and long-tail keywords as well as the intention of the person using using them in a range of situations.

From researching and booking travel to planning and completing a home remodel (to nearly everything in between), Google Autocomplete offers glimpses into the heads of  a range of industries’ target customers.

Want to learn more about using Google Autocomplete and other SEO tools to best connect to your target audience? Contact Galileo Tech Media.