Both Google and Bing have autosuggest, and it is a feature I think we tend to take for granted now. I know that I even cater my search terms when using either engine based on what comes up as a suggestion. It feels completely natural to do so, even though it is a relatively new feature. I barely remember a few years ago when you have to do the search and rely on a possible correction just in case you got it wrong.
For professionals and business owners, this feature offers something a little bit different. You can actually check these suggestions and use them to help direct your reputation management. You can even help to form what others think about your brand or yourself using the same methods. How useful is that?
When The Suggestions Are Bad
I have seen some pretty funny auto-suggestions in the past. If you put “McDonalds is” into Google, the first three suggestions are “bad”, “gross” and “bad for you”. That is hardly a good view into the positives of the company, and I have seen much worst examples.
On the other hand, when you just put in “McDonalds” you get “menu”, “secret menu” and “dollar menu”. Which are much better and show that they have been able to mostly manage their reputation on the search engine. People are way more likely to see those suggestions than the first ones I cited.
If you have noticed that negative (or at least non-beneficial) search results are the first offered when you put in your brand name, you may have a problem. This can actually hurt traffic and the overall reputation of yourself or your company. That isn’t what anyone wants.
On the other hand, this information can open your eyes on some burning issues with your site usability (for example, peopleÂ desperately searching [your business name + how to upgrade]).
Luckily SEOchat has an awesome tool for you to easily tap into all the Suggest results Google is showing for your brand in whatever combination: Google Suggest tool expand.
The tool also supports Bing, Youtube and Amazon.
Fixing The Issue
The first thing you need to do is make sure you are not generating biased results. If you are signed into a Google account when you do the search, it is going to base things partially on any biased information you might have in past results or web browsing. Once you are signed out, or using incognito mode, you are ready to begin.
Doing the search should give you an idea of what it is you need to focus on. If you aren’t getting the direction to official sites, you should focus on spending more money for PPC in Google Adwords. If you are getting negative or insulting search suggests, you should focus on getting positive reviews and mentions on other people’s websites. Sites like BusinessProfiles.com and Cyfe may help getting additional listings.
The final influence for these suggestions are other people’s searches. But you have no real way to direct their search behavior, and trying would be pointless. Instead, focus on what you can easily control, like the three methods above.
What About Bing?
You might notice that I focused very much on Google in the information above. That is because working for the one – which is more extensive out of the two search engines – will inevitably have an effect on your results in Bing. You are basically going to need to take the same steps, so doing them for the more popular engine makes more sense.
Besides, Bing (sadly) has a long way to catch up with Google when it comes to google Suggest. Right now their results are very weak.
Have some tips on reputation management through autosuggest features on Google and Bing? Let us know in the comments.