Google recently brought its Suggest feature out of Labs and onto the main .com search page.

Google Suggest has not yet been introduced on Google.co.uk, but it’s likely that it will be if the feature works in the US, and it could have a few implications for search marketers.

Unlike the search suggestions you get when typing terms into your Google Toolbar, Suggest will give you options for keywords and phrases based on the overall popularity of these terms, not your own browsing habits.

Here are a few potential implications of Suggest for search marketers. If you have any other ideas, let us know…

Changes to number of keywords used 

As Google will start to suggest search phrases as soon as you start typing in letters, users may become accustomed to choosing a longer phrase from the list. This could be a short term opportunity to build traffic based on such phrases.

Reputation management

Suggest could make this more difficult now as, even if you have decent results for your main brand name or biggest keyword, related search terms which may not be so positive could still show up.

Martin Bowling points out this problem on his blog, using the example of searches for Barack Obama. While a standard search for ‘obama’ will return no negative results, Google Suggest brings up phrases such as ‘obama antichrist’: 

Google suggest results

Fewer long tail searches? 

Google will be providing search suggestions based on the popularity of phrases searched for, so more obscure, long tail terms are far less likely to appear when you start to type.

Reduced misspellings

Google Suggest will now correct most misspellings, so websites that have been using these terms to drive traffic will need to think of another way, which is no bad thing considering the quality of most of these sites.

Increased competition for keywords

This remains to be seen, but the introduction of Suggest could reduce the number of keywords / phrases used by searchers if they tend to go with the search engine’s suggestions.

This means that the keywords and phrases that appear in the Suggest box, especially for searches centred around already competitive areas like insurance, will become more desirable.

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