28 Oct 2010

What’s Google Suggest Telling You About Your Site – What are You Doing About It?

You Have A Reputation Problem!

Did that unsavory forum post that was once result 98 for you name suddenly rocket up to 3? Do the words ‘review’ or ‘scam’ appearing next to your name before a potential customer is even finished typing make you queasy? You have a reputation problem and it’s possible that Google Suggest is responsible. A large factor deciding which phrases are included in Google Suggest is how commonly searched a phrase is. In his post on the topic called Can Google Read Your Mind?, Bill Slawski, of SEO by the Sea, discusses factors associated with which terms are cached. Some factors Slawksi outlines are popularity, recency, and a predefined metric possibly related to personalization related to the users Google account.

Once damaging phrases find their way into the predictive results, a chicken and the egg scenario occurs, in which Google Suggest increases the amount of traffic to the page, thereby making it more powerful. Although, there are some experts who suggest that there is little which can be done about negative autocompletes, I am not of this school of thought. I think that it is too narrow to merely look at the autocomplete suggestion and throw your hands up, saying that nothing can be done; after all there is a page, or pages, that are causes of the negative phrases becoming popular enough to be included in the autocomplete suggestions. There are options for managing reputation problems that arise due to Google Suggest, all of which have value as well as disadvantages.

Three Possible Options:

  • Get the Damaging Content Removed: Okay, okay, I know this is obvious and optimistic but it never hurts to try the easy solutions and depending on what the offending page is, especially if the problem is something like a forum post. The other option is to rebuttal the claim by addressing the problem right on that page. Beyond responding to forum posts, this is possible on many review sites, including rip off report. Although this may not be as satisfying as making the content disappear all together, in combination with efforts to cultivate positive sentiment, it is effective.
  • Knock Down the Negative Suggestion: Proposed initially on Search Engine Roundtable, it was recommended that if you can generate searches in large volumes for other terms, it may be possible to knock out the negative autocomplete suggestion. The risk here however is that the new term enjoying a large search volume will appear alongside the other term, and not have the intended effect of knocking it out.
  • Optimize Pages Favoring Your Site for that Phrase: Although the autocomplete suggestion will remain tied to your name, you can amorelate some of it’s impact buy trying to get it out of the top results for that term by optimizing pages with a positive sentiment for you name. This option will likely require drafting a strategy for creating pages, optimizing existing ones, and generating a strategy for promoting them.

You Should Really Really Revisit Your Keyword Research!

SEO’s preach the importance of keyword research the way that moms preach eating your broccoli. No one denies that Google Suggest changes the value of some keywords over others. There is a great Webmaster World post by, member, vivalasvagas, which was also commented on by Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim, which got me thinking. Before I get ahead of myself, the story is that there was a phrase that Google removed from Suggest and it cost vivalasvegas 5,000 visitors a day, isn’t that lame? The moral of the story for Beal is to make sure to check Google suggest while you’re doing keyword research. But why stop there?

Ann Smarty, in her recent article titled, How to Actually Use Google Suggest Feature for Keyword Research and Beyond, talks about using Google Suggest for brainstorming and she recommends ways to harness Google Suggest in your keyword research efforts. I think that Google suggest is useful for doing keyword research and the tools that are out there for it are pretty neat for finding some nice phrases to add to your targeted phrases. One word of caution though, sometimes these Google Suggest words will spit out keywords that are useless and will need to be filtered out, so that you’re only left with the good phrases. This can be done by taking the keyword list you picked out using Google Suggest tools and running it through Word tracker, taking out the phrases with low search volume. A free option is the free-sample version of keyword discovery.

Nifty Google Suggest Tools for Keyword Research and More:

  • Google Suggest by the Letter:Just like Google Autocomplete modifies suggestions for each keystroke the visitor types, this tool does the same and gets that data back to you as a list. I thought that this particular tool was better for reputation monitoring over keyword research but nevertheless, worth a mention because it’s so neat for ORM.
  • Expanding Suggest by Additional Phrases: This tool will give you the the top ten for both the phrase that you’re interested in and for any number of additional phrases you specify – this tool definitely yields lots of results. It is cool if you want to get really in depth and get 100+ keywords from Google Suggest. The drawback is that the results are not clean, so I advise looking through for buggy results and location based search (unless geolocal keyword targeting is something you’re into). Good quantity but not the BEST quality.

Now, here are the REALLY juicy ones…….

  • Promediacorp’s Suggester: You type in a keyword and this tool gives you a big extended list, with lots of tasty keywords and the top 10 or so terms from that list. I love this tool, especially because of the top terms list it give you, which I run through the other tool below….
  • SEOBook Google Suggest Scraper Tool: Now, I personally love this one, this is a great jump off for if you’re just starting too check out a general keyword landscape or if you’re making sure your not missing anything that’s clutch when you’re wrapping it up. You type in one keyword that you’re interested in, it analyzes the combination as well as the words individually. It will also give you a page count, the opportunity to refine Google suggest by any phrase in the list and it links through the SEObook keyword suggestion tool.

A few More Resources Discussing Google Suggest

Google Suggust Dissected: Server Side Guy breaks down exactly how Google suggest works and he reverse engineered the code to do it…for all you techies out there :-)

Top 15 Google Autocomplete Fails: This has no intellectual value but it is mildly amusing…but it’s not as good as when Wordtracker fails, now that’s very amusing!

P.S: I’d really love to hear your feedback on this, but there’s something up with our comments :-/

-by marketing ninja Bonnie

Comments

  1. Michael Freitag November 19, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    I’m so fascinated by you and your articles :-) Great!

  2. Deck Jets November 22, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    It’s good to see you posting on this topic, I need to bookmark this web site. Keep up the good work.

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