Everything You Must Know About Google Search Autocomplete
Updated on: 29 December 2022
When you enter Google’s homepage, you will most likely have something in mind that you are going to key into the search box – from checking for the best exchange rate for your next travel to looking for a specific business service or product, such as SEO services by various digital marketing agencies in Singapore.
You key in a couple of letters or words, and Google populates the search box with a list of search predictions. This Google Search feature is known as Autocomplete. In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of this feature.
What is Autocomplete?
According to Google, Autocomplete is a Google Search feature that helps to speed up the search process through the use of AI-generated predictions. It can be found across various Google applications, whether you are using Windows, Android, or iOS. Autocomplete has been helpful for desktop users, but even more so in recent years for mobile SERPs and users. This is evident even outside of Autocomplete, with the recent mobile SEPRs update by Google for site names and favicon.
Google has estimated that Autocomplete, on average, has helped to reduce keying in searches by approximately 25 per cent. That means, on average, users get to save more than 200 years of time spent on typing daily.
Predictions instead of suggestions: How Autocomplete works
While many might assume that Autocomplete is Google’s attempt to suggest specific searches, it is not. Instead, they have calculated predictions designed to help users complete a search they were making. Autocomplete involves Google’s AI looking through real-time searches, trending topics and related searches that might be relevant to the existing characters being keyed into the Google Search bar, as well as your previous searches and current location.
Such factors also allow Autocomplete to display the most valuable predictions that might be unique to a specific time or location, such as breaking news. Besides full search predictions, Autocomplete is also able to predict individual phrases or words that match word patterns and actual searches across the Internet.
The predictions also change in response to the input of new characters. And it makes sense from the example below.
Compared to the main image at the start of the article, going from “Google Auto” to “Google Autoc” causes the search predictions to change accordingly. It becomes apparent from the addition of the character “c” that the search is not about Google Autofill but rather Google Autocomplete. Hence, the prediction switched to one that is more relevant.
Autocomplete is a complex, time-saving feature. However, it is vital to note that while Autocomplete might display common and trending queries, it should not be mixed and confused with another Google feature called Google Trends, which is a tool for individuals who are looking to research various searches’ and topics’ popularity over a period of time.
How Autocomplete handles prediction issues
Autocomplete predictions are not entirely fool-proof. There are times when shocking or unexpected predictions might appear. Occasionally, some predictions may even lead to unreliable content. In such cases, Google removes such predictions.
Firstly, Autocomplete has a system in place to prevent policy-violating and unhelpful predictions, such as sexually explicit, disparaging, dangerous, hateful, or violent ones, from appearing.
Secondly, if Google AI misses such unfavourable predictions, their enforcement teams are always looking out for them, removing any closely-related and specific variations. To deal with prediction issues better, Google has been updating their system that supports valuable content, such as its recent December 2022 link spam update, Helpful content update 2.0, and its September 2022 broad core update. While not directly impacting Autocomplete, such updates improve the quality of SERPs so that searches lead to value-added content.
Therefore, if you identify an Autocomplete prediction that does not feel right, might offend someone, or makes you uncomfortable, desktop users can report such predictions using the “Report inappropriate predictions” link, which can be found below the search box. For mobile users, long presses or swiping to the left on the Autocomplete predictions will display the reporting option for Android and iOS, respectively.
Google Autocomplete benefits every type of user, making searches more accessible and faster. Not only that, but understanding how it functions can be a valuable tool for your brand’s SEO marketing strategy, content idea generation, keyword research, and search intent. After all, this is a crucial strategy many digital marketers employ in their SEO strategy so that they are able to meet their client’s needs better and more effectively.