As business increasingly moves online, the adage that your brand is your business has become more true than ever. Search engine autocomplete functions have an outsized influence on your brand’s value. When a potential customer or prospective hire searches for your company online, the last thing they want to see is the word ‘scam’ trailing your business’s name.
Fortunately, BRANDefenders exists to take care of your business’s reputation management. Continue reading to learn how positive auto-complete terms can benefit your business and some downsides to negative auto-complete terms.
What is Autocomplete Anyway?
The following article will look at Google’s search engine. This is due to Google’s dominant share of the market. Yahoo and Bing have similar predictive software. While they may not function in the same way, the differences are minor enough to assume that what’s true for Google will be true for its major competitors.
First launched in 2008, Google’s search engine autocomplete function predicts what text a searcher will type next. This is a small yet incredibly significant tweak to their service. It saves Google’s users a surprising amount of time (200 years per day, according to Google!), and it also serves as a powerful suggestion tool.
By eliminating the need for users to complete their queries, Google has opened the road for users to essentially crowdsource the remainder, and in some cases the bulk, of their inquiries. These autosuggestions are formulated algorithmically according to select criteria. Google primarily looks at what other individuals search for when they type in a given word. Language and geographic area are taken into consideration as well, so the same search term will produce two different sets of autocompletes in English and Italian, for example. By a similar token, the same search term may produce different autocompletes in New York vs. London.
While autocomplete search terms are supposed to be user-driven and, in consequence, relatively neutral in practice, they can be skewed by unfortunate or, in some cases, random events. Suppose a former employee chooses to sue your business, and the lawsuit generates a large amount of media coverage. In that case, this dark cloud can hang over your company for years, even if the suit is ultimately found groundless. If a flood damages your business, the term ‘flood’ may pop up next to your business’s name on the Google search function. While not actively harmful to your business, extraneous search terms such as this can crowd out more useful words like ‘employment opportunities’ or ‘sales page.’
This is where BRANDefender comes in. BRANDefender exists to optimize the autocompletes that pop up when people search for your business online. BRANDefender works with various search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Negative Autocomplete Search Terms Can Drive Away Business
It’s an unfortunate reality that negative Google autocompletes can unfairly prejudice potential customers before they even encounter your business’s website. Words like scam, scandal, or fraud can stop a searcher dead in their tracks. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this.
Hiring a competent online reputation management service such as BRANDefenders will eliminate harmful negative autocomplete search terms. It’s a small change that can bring about big improvements in brand perception.
Black Hat Practices can Steal Prospective Clients
In the rough and tumble digital marketplace, firms always look for ways to one-up the competition. Some of the less scrupulous firms turn to black hat SEO firms to tank the online presence of their competitors. Miscreants manipulate search engine autocomplete terms to cast competitors in a negative light. This can take various forms, but the important takeaway is that if you aren’t actively working with a white hat firm like BRANDefenders, you’re risking your business.
Ineffective Search Terms Can Act as a Drag on Your Business
You want every customer journey stage to be as streamlined as possible. Even a small amount of drag can cost you sales as some potential clients are apt to give up or be side-tracked by extraneous search results. A reputation management service like the one provided by BRANDefenders will ensure that your customers are only receiving the autocomplete terms that will lead to positive outcomes for your brand.
Examples of effective autocomplete terms would be those that lead to sales, greater exposure to your products or services, positive press coverage, directions to your store’s physical presence (if applicable), or the employment opportunities page on your website. Ineffective autocomplete search terms would lead to negative press coverage, a competitor’s website, or a defunct product line. When online searchers are exposed to these search terms, you lose money.
Helpful Search Tips Facilitate Greater Sales
Let’s take a quick look at how effective autocomplete search terms can facilitate greater sales. You lose customers at each step of the digital sales funnel. The faster you can get a lead to your website, the more likely they are to convert. To that end, it’s important that customers searching for your business receive autocomplete terms that include your most popular service or product line, that the autocomplete terms take them directly to your website and not to a third-party aggregator, and that your customers don’t become bogged down on review websites like Yelp.
Search tips can help prospective customers skip past unnecessary information so they can get right to the good stuff. By carefully curating your business’s auto-complete suggestions, you’re guiding internet searchers to exactly where you want them. If you have any experience in the digital advertising space, you’ll know what a big advantage this presents to your business. While businesses can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day using Google or Facebook ads to drive traffic to specific pages, you’re shaping the organic traffic your website receives.
Cut Down on Search Time to Create a Positive User Experience
The field of user experience design is going through a boom, and for a good reason. With the online marketplace becoming ever more saturated by the day, you must offer prospective customers a smooth ride from the first letter they type into the Google search bar to your website’s product or service page. By ensuring that people who search for your business are only exposed to positive search terms, you’re smoothing out the user experience journey where it matters most, at the beginning. You don’t want to lose a customer before they get to your webpage.
It’s important to remember that, psychologically speaking, negative experiences stand out more than positive experiences. This is important because research shows that, over the years, brand attachment has grown. This means that the benefits of hooking a new customer are greater, while the downsides to losing a potential client are even higher. Businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the impact that autocompletes will have on their overall user experience.
Autocomplete Can Help Educate Your Customer Base
One less intuitive but no less powerful impact of a positive autocomplete search is that it can help your customers learn about products or services they might otherwise skip over. For example, if you have an e-commerce website that sells home appliance goods and furniture, someone may search for your store name to buy a toaster oven. If armchair comes up as an autocomplete search term, they may gain valuable exposure to a separate line of products carried by your store. Consequently, this could lead to a purchase that might not have otherwise happened.
For example, a mechanic who offers add-on services like car detailing will want to educate his customer base on this service. In addition to traditional advertising methods, having the words ‘car detail’ appear next to the name of his business will help educate a sizable portion of his customer base as to this added service at no added cost or effort (besides the initial cost of hiring a reputable online reputation management company like BRANDefender).
Cross-selling is an important tool for any business, and autosuggestions are the perfect tool to drive new sales through customer education. The opportunity is simply too important to waste. Remember that if you don’t take advantage of the autosuggestions that appear for your business, internet searchers will be exposed to a slew of other, functionally useless words instead. The choice is clear, and the benefits are too large to ignore.
If you’re not staying on top of your autocomplete, you’re leaving money on the table. Cleaning up your autocomplete is simple by reaching out to BRANDefenders. With years of experience and a reputation for industry excellence, there’s no one better qualified to enhance your online reputation. Protect your business today by taking control of your search engine autocomplete.