How Autocomplete Affects Your Company and How To Improve It
In today’s digital world, Google is the go-to source for information about individuals and businesses. But what happens when a search for you generates harmful suggestions through Google’s autocomplete feature?
It can result in a negative feedback loop and significant damage to your online reputation. But fear not! This post will dive into the inner workings of Google autocomplete and provide practical tips for boosting your online reputation. So, let’s take control and make Google work for us, not against us.
How Does Google’s Autocomplete Function?
Google autocomplete predicts the words or phrases you’re likely to type into the search bar based on popular searches by other users. It considers the location and language of the searcher and their personal search history so that it may provide a customized list of suggested search terms.
For example, let’s say you search for “Nike.” Google autocomplete might suggest “Nike sweatshops” as one of the results if many people begin to search for that phrase. It could harm the brand image and reputation, as people might associate the company with unethical practices and labor rights violations.
It highlights the importance of monitoring and controlling the search terms suggested by autocomplete, especially for businesses and brands that care about their online presence and reputation.
Autocomplete Algorithms: How They Guide Inquiry
Autocomplete algorithms have the power to steer our online inquiries by presenting us with suggested search terms. But, unfortunately, the opaqueness of these algorithms often hinders our comprehension of precisely how they shape our searches.
A study examined how Google and Bing’s autocomplete features work when searching for US governors up for re-election. They found that Google showed more social media websites and Bing showed more negative words. The lower-ranked suggestions also changed more often on both search engines.
The study highlights the need for more transparency and accountability in the functioning of autocomplete algorithms and provides a method for auditing these algorithms by creating a network of algorithmic associations.
Simply put, a computer processes relationships between pieces of information to guide you to your desired outcome.
Boosting Your Reputation with Google Autocomplete
As the internet’s gatekeepers, search engines shape how we perceive and understand the world around us. With the click of a button, we have access to a vast sea of information, but how do we know if what we’re seeing is accurate and free from harmful content?
That’s where Google’s policies come in. It has guidelines to help remove predictions that contain:
- Sexually explicit language
- Other harmful content
If you come across a suggestion that violates these policies, you can report it to Google via its Manage Google autocomplete predictions page. But, as with any system, there may be exceptions. For example, Google may decline to remove predictions if it determines that they are educational, artistic, documentary, historical, or scientific.
SERPs Impact in Shaping Our World View
The impact of search engines on shaping public understanding and their role in moderating information has become a growing concern and a topic of public controversy. People expect search engines to give accurate information about historical events, especially human rights abuses.
It’s a delicate balancing act between providing access to information and protecting users from harm. And it’s a question commonly asked – should companies be the ones making these decisions? Unfortunately, like the fine line between information and moderation, the answer is not always clear-cut.
But companies want to keep the way they control the content they show. That’s because of how they make decisions and their limited understanding of how search results shape our understanding of the world.
How Can Established Brands Improve Their Autocomplete Search Results?
In today’s digital age, online reputation is everything. From potential employers to new customers, the first thing they do is Google your name to see what comes up. That’s why reputation management is essential for managing your online presence.
You can control what shows up when someone searches for you by suppressing harmful content. Let’s take a closer look at the steps you can take to improve your search results through reputation management.
1. Take Ownership of the Front Page
The first few search engine results page (SERP) results are critical to your online reputation. Therefore, you want to control as many of these results as possible, ensuring they are all positive and related to you or your business.
Focus on controlling your website, social media pages, and other digital properties you host to achieve this. Set up branded profiles on popular social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and keep them active.
2. Participate in Social Media and Reply to Online Reviews
Social media and review sites are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can be great for promoting positive content, but on the other hand, negative comments or reviews can have a devastating impact on your online reputation.
It is essential to be active on these sites — respond to negative comments or reviews, and promote positive content. If you receive a negative review, apologize for the customer’s bad experience and try to resolve the issue offline. Responding often results in the reviewer revising their review.
3. Add Your Information to Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to manage your business information on Google, including your business name, address, and hours. It can be a vital part of owning the first page of your search results, as it often appears at the top of the SERP.
Having a Google Business profile also helps your business appear on Google Maps. Make sure to complete your profile to make it easier for customers to find and learn about your business.
4. Claim Your Listings
Claiming your profile in directories such as BBB, CitySearch, and Angie’s List and review sites like Yelp can improve traffic to your website and increase trust with potential customers.
5. Publish Content Centered on Potentially Damaging Keywords
By analyzing People Also Ask (PAA) search results, you can find keywords associated with harmful content. To combat this, you could create content around these keywords, promoting positive information and suppressing the negative.
For example, if you find that people are asking if it’s a bad idea to buy clothes from a specific brand, you can create blog posts or articles promoting the quality of the brand’s clothes.
6. Provide News for the Right Reasons
Being newsworthy is a great way to improve your search results. But make sure you are newsworthy for the right reasons. For example, if you are trying to bury a negative news article grounded in fact, people will not have much sympathy for you.
Instead, focus on being newsworthy for positive reasons, such as promoting your business or accomplishments.
7. Check Other Search Engines
Finally, remember that there are other search engines besides Google. While Google is the most popular, other search engines like Bing and Yahoo! still have millions of users. To improve your search results on these engines, you should use similar tactics as those discussed above.
Tips for S/Us and Individuals
Here are some tips you could use to help boost your online reputation and make sure you’re associated with favorable search terms.
1. Google Yourself
The first step in improving your online reputation is to know what’s out there about you. Google your name and include all variations (such as your full name, nickname, city, and profession). This way, you’ll get a comprehensive picture of what comes up in your search results.
2. Get Your Website Established
A website is a great way to showcase your brand and assert your authority online. Try to name your website after your brand (e.g., xyzbrand.com) and regularly update it with fresh content. Google loves sites that continuously add new information and views them as more authoritative.
3. Distinguish Yourself From Others With Similar Branding
If you have a common name, it can be challenging to stand out from other people with the same name. That’s why it’s crucial to create a personal brand that sets you apart. Use content marketing to build your brand and show Google who you are.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Social media accounts often rank highly in search results for your name, so ensure you’re taking advantage of this valuable real estate. Also, engage with others on social media in a way that showcases your character and abilities.
5. Ask for Content To Be Removed
Is there anything online that’s untrue, outdated, misleading, or harmful to your reputation? You could ask the person who posted it (or the website owner) to take it down or edit it. If the content is on a social media platform, you can flag it for removal if it violates the site’s terms of service.
Taking Advantage of Autocomplete To Boost Brand Awareness
Established brands, S/Us, and individuals can improve their search results by understanding the inner workings of Google autocomplete algorithms and following the guidelines set by the search engine. Don’t forget to implement these tips into your management efforts.
Take control of your online reputation by making Google work for you, not against you. By understanding the power of autocomplete and how it can influence your online presence, you can use it to your advantage and boost your reputation in today’s digital world.