macbook with Google on the screen
  • 16
  • December

How to Protect Your Online Reputation by Influencing Google Autocomplete

Google is the most used search engine worldwide, with an estimated 5.6 billion daily searches. To save users time and show relevant results, Google has an “Autocomplete” algorithm that predicts search strings based on other users’ search history.

These days, when people want information about an organization, product, or individual, they search online. But what happens if people search for your name, and Google autocompletes the search string with a negative word or phrase, such as “ripoff” or “lawsuit?”

To protect your online reputation against damaging Autocomplete terms, you should engage the services of The Reputation Management Company to help you influence the algorithm to avoid harmful suggestions and display positive ones instead, boosting your online reputation.

How Autocomplete Can Harm Your Online Reputation

How many times have you entered a brand name into Google and been served with suggestions such as “scam,” “class action,” “bankruptcy,” or “fraud?” Now imagine that’s your organization or you personally.

Anything from a bad review to a rant from a disaffected ex-employee to a smear campaign by an unethical competitor could result in your name being linked with negative terms in autofill results and on SERPs (search engine result pages).

A single autofill is enough to link your brand to something unsavory. When the search user – whether a potential customer, an employer, or a family member – follows the suggestion, they strengthen the link, meaning it’s more likely to appear in future searches.

As it appears in more searches and gets promoted up the rankings by Google, the effect can become self-perpetuating, compounding the damage to your online reputation.

Undesirable search results can harm career prospects, blight the chance of a raise or promotion, scare off potential investors, shareholders, or customers, hinder you from getting a quality education, or damage personal relationships.

The Reputation Management Company knows how to disassociate you from unfavorable connections and establish desirable search predictions for your brand.

How Autocomplete Works

To know what to do about negative auto-fills, you should first understand how Google Autocomplete works. Google uses several algorithms to power its machine-learning search capabilities, including the RankBrain algorithm that underlies Autocomplete.

This algorithm uses deep learning to predict searches based on the popularity and freshness of keywords being used by others. It helps you get more relevant results and reduces typing time. The predictions take into account five main factors:

  1. How frequently a keyword is searched (popularity)
  2. How often the keyword appears on internet sites that Google’s spider can crawl
  3. Your brand’s social media presence
  4. The search user’s location
  5. The time and date (linked to freshness, i.e., what is trending)

keywords Google Autocomplete displays autofill results ranked by popularity. However, the algorithm prioritizes relevance (based on factors such as location), and freshness, over popularity.

In other words, even perennially popular and high-volume keywords may be displaced by low-volume keywords that are trending or time-sensitive. This allows fresh, relevant content to achieve more views because it is probably more accurate and what users want to see.

The converse is that even high-ranked pages get down-graded in search queries as they age. This informs us how to influence Google Autocomplete to protect your online reputation.

Regularly updating content bolsters SEO, draws traffic, and increases website authority. It follows that providing a steady stream of content about your brand that is relevant to search users helps to displace negative terms from Google Autocomplete.

You can use Autocomplete to do keyword research to identify what your target audience is looking for, which helps you to target your content and enhance your online reputation.

The Difference Between Autocomplete and Autosuggest

Autocomplete is available to anyone using the Google search engine. In contrast, Autosuggest is an autofill function based on your personal search history, cookies, and previous autofills. You must be logged into a Google account to use this feature, and you can remove these predictions.

What Google Doesn’t Allow in Autocomplete

Google policy imposes certain restrictions on Autocomplete, with the following categories of predictions disallowed:

  • Violence and gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexually explicit terms (scientific and medical vocabulary is allowed)
  • Hate speech or incitement to violence
  • Dangerous predictions, such as searches that could severely harm humans or animals
  • Baseless rumors
  • Sensitive information regarding named individuals, such as information that could result in identity theft or fraud

You can appeal to Google (or other search engines with similar restrictions) to remove autofill results that violate these restrictions.

What The Reputation Management Company Does

As our name suggests, The Reputation Management Company looks after your online reputation, whether you are an individual or an organization. We identify the root of any negative terms linked to your brand, consult with you, and use our guaranteed solutions to mitigate the issue.

The Reputation Management Company is an industry leader in displacing and removing negative suggestions while enhancing the visibility of positive associations. 

Building on our established and successful SEO suppression solution that suppresses unfavorable profiles, news, or content from the first page of search engine results, our team has the tools and know-how to influence Google Autocomplete.

We not only push unwanted suggestions out of Google Autocomplete but also do so on other search engines such as Amazon, YouTube, Twitter, Bing, Baidu, Yelp, and Yahoo.

Moreover, we provide solutions considering your global reach as an organization or individual. Your reputation issues may differ from place to place due to the location-based nature of Google Autocomplete. Failing to take this into account dooms your online reputation management.

The Reputation Management Company resolves any negative reputation results associated with your brand at a regional level, ensuring that your online reputation is protected, whatever the location of users searching your brand name.

Ways of Influencing Google Autocomplete

seoIn addition to what our team at The Reputation Management Company does, there are strategies you, as an organization or individual, can implement to enhance your online reputation by influencing autofill results.

Report search predictions that violate search engine policies: As explained above, Google and other search engines prohibit specific autofill categories. While reporting any predictions about your brand that are in violation won’t fix all your online reputation issues, doing so may help.

Subdue negative records: If a search engine prediction points to something you are doing wrong, deal with it. It isn’t a quick fix, but dealing with your mistakes will result in people not making so much of it. Declining search volume causes the autofill to disappear from the prediction list.

Dilute negative results with positive ones: Featuring positive customer reviews on your site, organizing events or giveaways, and engaging with followers on social media can boost your brand image and gradually displace unfavorable search predictions from the first page of Google.

Implement a targeted Google Autocomplete campaign: Get people searching for the autofill results you want to appear and keep them searching for it consistently so that the freshness aspect of the RankBrain algorithm maintains your desired phrase at the top of the prediction list. Here’s how you can encourage people to search a given term:

  • Create a Google website address for the search page resulting from your desired search string, and link to it. Instead of typing the desired search phrase, people need only click the link to make the search string rank in Google Autocomplete.
  • Put the link to this URL on your websites, in email newsletters, social media business pages or fan pages, blogs, or online business directories, and request visitors to click that link.
  • Ask your potential customers to Google your desired search string if you employ offline advertising, such as TV ads, radio spots, billboards, or print ads.

Ongoing Tactics to Manage and Protect Your Online Reputation

Whether you are an individual or an organization, there are things you can do on an ongoing basis to look after your brand.

If you are an individual, we recommend the following:

  • Googling yourself (in incognito mode) and see what comes up
  • Setting up a personal website related to your name and distinguishing yourself from others with the same name
  • Developing a solid personal brand by regularly posting quality content
  • Being active on social media to keep up positivity around your brand
  • Flagging social media content about you that violates terms of service
  • Asking website owners to remove harmful content regarding you

If you are an organization, we recommend the following:

  • Googling your organization’s name (in incognito mode) to see its associations
  • Publishing quality content on your corporate website regularly to showcase your expertise and enhance your domain authority
  • Posting on social media and engaging with followers
  • Creating a Google Business account and populating your profile
  • Claiming listings on review sites and business directories and engaging with customers
  • Responding promptly to all reviews, but especially negative ones, as prompt apologies and offline engagement with disgruntled customers can cause them to tone down their reviews

In Conclusion

While Google Autocomplete can cause harm to your online reputation by associating your brand with unfavorable terms, it is possible to change by understanding the algorithms at work and influencing them.

The Reputation Management Company is the leader in the field, and you can trust us to look after your brand’s reputation.

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