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Google Suggest And Its Effects


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#1 SEOigloo

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 02:54 PM

Hi All,
I've been reading about Google Suggest for the last hour and would like to hear what my respected fellow Cre8ers think about this rather significant change in Google's UI. I thought this article was especially good in outlining some of the potential effects this could have on KW research and user behavior.

I am still waiting for this to start appearing on my own computer. I guess others are already seeing it.

What I have seen is this application being used at YouTube and I didn't like it there. First, there is the issue of dropdowns - not really my favorite style of navigation and not just because of the historic SEO issues with this. What I found to be problematic was that with every letter I typed into the YouTube search box, the river of suggestions below it altered. This created a lot of movement right below my typing space and I found that to be a distraction to my eye.

Good or bad, this is a big change with numerous potential ramifications for anyone who uses Google, and I'd love to know what members think about this.
Miriam

Edited by SEOigloo, 26 August 2008 - 02:55 PM.


#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:14 PM

From a user point of view, I like it. I'm always in a rush, so if I can get there faster with this new thing, then great. I use this kind of interface a lot elsewhere, and it works well for me.

From a site owner point of view, I'm concerned, but only slightly so. It might mean having to make a few moves to make sure I rank for a few different phrases than I already rank for, because someone who would have come via phrase A may now choose phrase B instead. Sort of like a grocery store analogy: Perhaps they'll get distracted and choose the shinier flavor instead of the flavor they had their hand on originally (which is the flavor of my brand). But that just means we have to duck and dance and swivel and flow to the ever-changing beat of user whimsy. Not that big a deal.

All in all, I think it's a good move. We'll see though. I may be crying in my less than shiny flavor of milk later on. :)

#3 SEOigloo

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:26 PM

:)

But that just means we have to duck and dance and swivel and flow to the ever-changing beat of user whimsy


Sounds very acrobatic, Donna!

I take it you're not yet seeing this in Google either?

Miriam

#4 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 03:42 PM

Oh yes, I see it. Thing is, I rarely search directly from Google, so it won't help me very often. My searches tend to be generated either from the browser search bar, or Zuula (a meta search engine that lets me see results from various engines on separate tabs).

#5 EGOL

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 04:27 PM

I have been seeing this for a while... but I don't use it much because I know what I want.

I think that it is very smart of google because it allows them to "load" the searches that they prefer to serve in temptation to the user. If I was them I would serve profitable ones or searches that perform well in user satisfaction.

#6 iamlost

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 04:35 PM

I have a couple of immediate concerns:
* people are easily distracted/lead especially by 'authority' so I expect the drop down box to lead a significant number, not where they initially planned to go, but where Google suggests.

Thus the SERPs will shrink as they already have from the advertised 'Results 1 - 10 of about n-million' meaning ~999 to meaning ~99 to meaning the suggestion box or ~9. It is a well known marketing factoid that too much choice actually limits conversions so the 10-box of Local and the suggestion box for general search should improve conversion. The question being for whom?

* will AdWords value have an affect on the contents of the dropdown or contrarywise will the dropdown have an affect on PPC pricing?

* will popular keywords simply be 'locked' as in the rich get richer?

I have some other concerns but am waiting on the 'box' to be rolled widely for some testing. Have been collecting some baseline niche data for a few weeks. Should be interesting to graph over time.

IMO this is simply another (very good) reason to diversify traffic sources.

#7 phaithful

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:58 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Google Suggest had actually gone live on Google "way back when" but was quickly removed. I believe at the time there was concerns from Advertisers that some of the searches selected wouldn't be the genuine intent, and therefore they would receive erroneous clicks or have a lower CTR ... and of course

will AdWords value have an affect on the contents of the dropdown or contrarywise will the dropdown have an affect on PPC pricing?

... all of which effect their pocketbooks.

... but I don't use it much because I know what I want.

I'm in agreement here... and I think a good deal of searches know what they want to search on. Of course, I can be a Google cynic, and I think this is merely another way to drive up the number of searches. More searches, more clicks .... more clicks, more revenue.

Although playing devil's advocate, there is a great deal of research that shows a large amount of searches performing "query refinements", meaning searches tend not to find what their looking for on the initial search and have to add or subtract from their query to discover a listing they find interesting enough to click on. Google Suggest could potentially help reduce the number of needed refinements if the suggested queries produce a diverse enough SeRP that will draw the user to click on the first query.

Then again... it's probably just to drive more searches, heh.

From a user point of view, I like it. I'm always in a rush, so if I can get there faster with this new thing, then great. I use this kind of interface a lot elsewhere, and it works well for me.

I agree, in the end I actually like Google Suggest, even though it only helps out every once in a long while.

I actually prefer the Yahoo! search implementation, where the "suggestions" drop down only if it "suspects" you're having problems thinking of a search query. I believe a time delay is triggered after a keystroke, and if it takes you "too long" to click search, the search assist will drop down.

#8 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 05:36 PM

Miriam, by default, Google disables the query suggestions, so if you are not able to view suggestions as you type, you may want to visit the Preferences page and select “Provide query suggestions in the search box".

#9 DrPete

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 06:23 PM

So far, just anecdotally, the suggestions seem entirely driven on search-result volume, leading to some pretty spammy or useless options. Yahoo's suggestion feature seems a lot more useful at this point. In theory, though, I can see the value, and I don't really think it changes the SEO game that much - it's really search refinement, as phaithful suggested.

#10 Ruud

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:45 PM

I like the idea a lot. 10 extra SEO positions to go for even before the search has started. Love it. Would like to see it everywhere; think Yahoo's Search Assist.



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