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Google Autocomplete: En komplett SEO-guide

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Google Autocomplete: A Complete SEO Guide


Google Autocomplete is a controversial but powerful search feature.

When you type a word, or even a letter, into Google, it populates a list of search suggestions. That’s what autocomplete is.

SEO professionals, paid search marketers, content marketers, and social media managers can all benefit from using Google Autocomplete to help with different keyword-focused and intent-exploring projects.

On the other hand, Google Autocomplete often makes the news for funny, peculiar, or even offensive habits (often in a negative way).

People use autocomplete constantly, saving thousands of seconds per day, but it has also been blamed for political cover-ups and spoiling movies, TV shows, and video games.

Google Autocomplete can also be a powerful marketing tool. SEO professionals and other digital marketers have used it for years to inform strategy, get keywords, and find the important questions customers are asking.

They can use Autocomplete to better optimize clients’ digital properties and the content and messaging that make them up.

This guide will help you understand the real power this simple but super-helpful feature can do for help with your day-to-day tasks.

What Is Google Autocomplete?

Google’s own words, Google Autocomplete is “designed to make it faster to complete searches that you’re beginning to type.”

It’s integrated across Google Search and other Alphabet properties that use Google, including in the “Omnibox” on Chrome.

Google estimates that, cumulatively, it saves over 200 years of typing every day, and on average reduces typing overall by about 25 percent.

The primary purpose of the Autocomplete dropdown is to cut back on time a user spends typing by offering predictions of what a user may be typing — including for websites using the built-in Google Custom Search Engine feature.

While Autocomplete has been a desktop search feature since late 2004, it has become even more useful as a time-saving feature on mobile devices.

Typing on a mobile device is a bit tougher than doing so on the large keyboards we have grown up with and are accustomed to, so it’s a welcomed tool for providing assistance and saving time for many.

There are several other useful ways that the feature can be used to leverage content ideas, keyword suggestions, intent exploration, online reputation management, and other data-driven tasks.

How Does Autocomplete Work?

Ex-Googler Kevin Gibbs created the project, originally called “Google Suggest” by another former Googler Marissa Mayer.

Google has since moved away from the “Suggest” name since it’s not always offering the most thoughtful, caring, or appropriate predictions.

Google calls the completions it offers “predictions”, not “suggestions.” This is because of how Autocomplete works.

Autocomplete is supposed to help people complete a sentence they were intending – not to suggest a search intent, as with “I’m feeling lucky.” They determine predictions by looking at common searches on Google, including looking at trending searches that might be relevant.

This allows Autocomplete to quickly update and adapt to new search trends and news stories.

Much of Autocomplete’s behavior is computer-generated, with data collected from millions of other Google searches and their results, including the content on those pages. It also takes information from your search history, location, and other data points.

Google has also put a lot of work in, so as to avoid inappropriate or offensive autocomplete suggestions. This means there are both automated and manual removal procedures that can influence what autocomplete suggestions are left.

Autocomplete is also related to the Knowledge Graph, and especially on mobile, it can bring Knowledge Graph suggestions into the prediction.

It wasn’t until 2008 that Google built Autocomplete into its default search engine (it was previously an opt-in feature).

Best Ways to Use Google Autocomplete

1. Keyword Research

It’s a long, tedious, and laborious task, but it’s also the foundation of all SEO strategies– and has been for a long time.

While we may no longer explicitly target keywords, keywords and their related ideas are always going to be an important part of sökmarknadsföring.

Sökordsforskning is one of the first tasks tackled at the start of an engagement — and carried on throughout the engagement — to understand not just a brand and the content it creates, but also its potential shortcomings, website strengths and weaknesses, and content gaps.

Autocomplete doesn’t do all the work for you in terms of keyword research, but it’s a great place to start at or to use early and often when developing content calendars and general organic search strategies.

Using it (along with other keyword resource tools like Google Keyword Planner and other third-party keyword databases) to get an idea of the right keywords you want to target by considering monthly search frequency, competition, and even cost-per-click (CPC) pricing will do your search strategy justice.

One of the shining advantages of Google Autocomplete is its ability to uncover quality long-tail phrases that are commonly searched across the web.

Since the primary measure for Autocomplete is popularity — based on real searches by users in real-time — the value of Autocomplete lies in its plethora of keyword-level data that you can dig up if you work at it hard and long enough.

As always, be sure you are signed out of Google to ensure you limit personalization for an unbiased look at predictions.

Long-tail keywords are incredibly useful when fulfilling content gaps but also offer endless possibilities in terms of high-value blog posts and educational content within a brand’s niche.

2. Intent Exploration

Understanding user intent is important because it guides the goal of the page, its messaging, its layout, and even imagery. We know pages perform best when they fully satisfy the user intent of a search query.

You can use Autocomplete to better understand user intent, but doing so can be involved and laborious. Taking the time to visit many different web pages in the search results tied to specific predictions is going to take some time, focus, and content consumption. But the information you can mine from this method is invaluable.

Keywords overlap various stages of user intent, and without more keyword context, it can be tough to understand the intent.

Autocomplete will help you not just understand different high-value long-tail keywords and the intent surrounding them, but it will also help marketers recognize the volume of content around specific stages of intent, as well as which long-tail phrases and intent stages could be optimized for as a higher priority.

Of course, for high-value keywords — long-tail or traditional one-, two-, and three-word phrases — it’s important to satisfy all stages of intent as they relate to the high-value keywords.

That’s the idea behind an all-encompassing, quality search strategy. And Autocomplete can help get you there.

3. Online Reputation Management

Autocomplete has been significant in the realm of online reputation management, too.

Remember, when a user searches for your name or your brand name, the first thing they see, even before your site on the SERP (search engine results page), is the Autocomplete predictions tied to that name.

If those predictions are negative, or if even just one of them is negative, it can have a real impact on your business’s performance.

Think about it. You search [Dog Washers Inc] and the first prediction finishes with “loses dog,” you probably won’t feel too keen on bringing your dog there for his next bath.

Same for a restaurant; if you search [Ted’s Seaford Spot] and the prediction finishes with “e. Coli,” I have a pretty good idea of what you’re not eating tonight.

Autocomplete makes up an important part of online reputation management (ORM) and cannot be ignored when working to balance all negative connections made with brands.

One must be vigilant, just like most ORM strategies. Several ways brands can work to offset negative Autocomplete predictions are:

  • Take control of your brand’s conversations to ensure the right connections are being made in Google Autocomplete.
  • Social media account optimization reinforces the positive connections that may be overshadowed by negative ones.
  • Social media content, messaging, and engagement are in line with the optimizations above and the brand’s voice and tone.
  • Consistent branding and messaging for profile websites with positive keywords association used elsewhere
  • Starting small and making an impact by searching for positive connections for the brand from different locations. Obviously, the more people, the better. But you’d be surprised at the impact it can have.
  • Building backlinks to Google SERPs for positive keyword associations with your name; things like [sam hollingsworth seo writer] and [sam hollingsworth handicapper] would be great starts for someone like myself. 😊
  • If there are negative autocomplete suggestions, ensure that you have a strategy of how to address them.

4. Content Generation and Exploration

You can also now use Autocomplete for content generation and exploring competitor content for your own content ideas. It’s easy, and interesting, to use Autocomplete alongside other online writing tools, to find out what web users are searching for.

Vanliga frågor

Just looking at “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and “why” with a few brand-related questions can get you a ton of questions for your FAQ– questions people may already be searching for.

Related keywords

You can do this in many ways, for many reasons. An easy one is “brand name vs.”– Google will autofill with competitors. You can also look at “brand name and” and see what autocomplete finds there– finding ways to expand your brand.

Related topics

If you can find Autocomplete suggestions for related topics, that aren’t covered by your main topic, you might have an edge to grow some content in that niche.

Queries like “how * works” can be invaluable, autocomplete filling in the wildcard space with suggestions. You can also do this to find questions about your brand, questions for content marketing, find problems potential customers are looking for, and even find out if users are looking for certain social media accounts.

Screenshot of Google Search, November 2021

Autocomplete Policies

With a history of backlash due to some of its search predictions, Google does manually work to prevent inappropriate Autocomplete predictions when it comes to:

  • Sexually explicit predictions.
  • Hateful predictions against groups and individuals.
  • Violent predictions.
  • Danger and harmful activities in predictions.

It also may remove predictions that could be considered spam, facilitate or advocate piracy, or if given a legal request to do so.

Google makes it clear that it removes predictions that relate to any of the above-mentioned situations unless they contain medical or scientific terms that are not malicious.

Looking for Feedback

To better control inappropriate Autocomplete predictions, Google launched its feedback tool and uses the data to make improvements consistently.

For instance, there doesn’t have to be a particular demographic that is being targeted by something hateful in nature; and feedback helps get that discovered faster and easier.

google-autocomplete-report-inappropriateScreenshot of Google Search, November 2021

Understanding what people are actually searching for is an essential part of your SEO strategi.

See how you can incorporate Google Autocomplete into your research process. You just might be surprised at the specific keywords and search intent it reveals!

Fler SEO-resurser:


Featured image: Shutterstock/Fonstra





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Är IP-adress en Google-rankningsfaktor?

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Is IP Address A Google Ranking Factor?

Does the IP address of your website’s server affect your rankings in search results? According to some sources around the internet, your IP address is a ranking signal used by Google.

But does your IP address have the potential to help or harm your rankings in search? Continue reading to learn whether IP addresses are a Google ranking factor.

The Claim: IP Address As A Ranking Factor

Articles on the internet from reputable marketing sites claim that Google has over 200 “known” ranking factors.

These lists often include statements about flagged IP addresses affecting rankings or higher-value länkar because they are from separate C-class IP addresses.

Screenshot from HubSpot.com, June 2022

Fortunately, these lists sparked numerous conversations with Google employees about the validity of IP addresses as ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.

[Ebook:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Evidence Against IP Address As A Ranking Factor

I 2010, Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s webspam team, was asked if the ranking of a client’s website would be affected by spammy websites on the same server.

His response:

“On the list of things that I worry about, that would not be near the top. So I understand, and Google understands that shared webbhotell happens. You can’t really control who else is on that IP address or class c subnet.”

Ultimately, Google decided if they took action on an IP address or Class C subnet, the spammers would just move to another IP address. Therefore, it wouldn’t be the most efficient way to tackle the issue.

Cutts did note a specific exception, where an IP address had 26,000 spam sites and one non-spammy site that invited more scrutiny but reiterated that this was an exceptional outlier.

I 2011, a tweet from Kaspar Szymanski, another former member of Google’s webspam team, noted that Google has the right to take action when free hosts have been massively spammed.

I 2016, during a Google Webmaster Central Office Hours, John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, was asked if having all of a group’s websites on the same c block of IP addresses was a problem.

He answered:

“No, that’s perfectly fine. So that’s not something where you artificially need to buy IP address blocks to just shuffle things around.

And especially if you are on a CDN, then maybe you’ll end up on an IP address block that’s used by other companies. Or if you’re on shared hosting, then these things happen. That’s not something you need to artificially move around.”

In March 2018, Mueller was asked if an IP change with a different geo-location would affect SEO. He responded:

“If you move to a server in a different location? Usually not. We get enough geotargeting information otherwise, e.g., from the TLD & geotargeting settings in Search Console.”

Ett par månader senare, Mueller replied to a tweet asking if Google still counted bad neighborhoods as a ranking signal and if a dedicated IP was necessary.

“Shared IP addresses are fine for search! Lots of hosting / CDN environments use them.”

In October 2018, Mueller was asked if the IP address location mattered for a site’s rankings. His response was simply, “Nope.”

A few tweets later, within the same Twitter thread, another user commented that IP addresses mattered regarding backlinks. Mueller again responded with a simple “Nope.”

In June 2019, Mueller received a question about Google Search Console showing a website’s IP address instead of a domän namn. His answer:

“Usually, getting your IP addresses indexed is a bad idea. IP addresses are often temporary.”

He suggested that the user ensure the IP address redirects to their domain.

Ett par månader senare, when asked if länkar from IP addresses were bad, Mueller tweeted:

"Länkar from IP addresses are absolutely fine. Most of the time, it means the server wasn’t set up well (we canonicalized to the IP address rather than the hostname, easy to fix with redirects & rel=canonical), but that’s just a technical detail. It doesn’t mean they’re bad.”

In early 2020, when asked about getting länkar from different IP addresses, Mueller said that the bad part was the user was making the backlinks themselves – not the IP addresses.

Then, in juni, Mueller was asked what happens if a website on an IP address bought länkar. Would there be an IP-level action taken?

“Shared hosting & CDNs on a single IP is really common. Having some bad sites on an IP doesn’t make everything on that IP bad.”

I september, during a discussion about bad neighborhoods affecting search rankings, Mueller stated:

“I’m not aware of any ranking algorithm that would take IPs like that into account. Look at Blogger. There are great sites that do well (ignoring on-page limitations, etc.), and there are terrible sites hosted there. It’s all the same infrastructure, the same IP addresses.”

I november, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunshine and Happiness at Google, shared a fun fact.

“Fun fact: changing a site’s underlaying infrastructure like servers, IPs, you name it, can change how fast and often Googlebot crawls from said site. That’s because it actually detects that something changed, which prompts it to relearn how fast and often it can crawl.”

While it’s interesting information, it seems to impact crawling and not ranking. Crawling is, of course, required to rank, but crawling is not a ranking factor.

I 2021, a Twitter user asked if IP canonicalization could positively affect SEO. Meuller replied:

“Unless folks are linking to your site’s IP address (which would be unexpected), this wouldn’t have any effect on SEO.”

Senare i december, when asked if an IP address instead of a hostname looks unusual when Google evaluates a link’s quality, Meuller stated, “Ip addresses are fine. The internet has tons of them.”

If you’re worried about your IP address or hosting company, the consensus seems to be: Don’t worry.

Get More Google Ranking Factor Insights.

Our Verdict: IP Address Is Not A Ranking Factor Anymore

Is IP Address A Google Ranking Factor?

Maybe in the past, Google experimented with IP-level actions against spammy websites.

But it must have found this ineffective because we are not seeing any confirmation from Google representatives that IP addresses, shared hosting, and bad neighborhoods are a part of the algorithm.

Therefore, we can conclude for now that IP addresses are not a ranking factor.


Utvald bild: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]



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