Google Autocomplete was a game-changer for SEO experts. Instead of people only seeing what they intended to search for, they now could see options as they typed in their search inquiry. This allowed them to choose a better, more descript, option or to even search for something else entirely.
When people can see possible search results as they enter in a search term, as well as similar search terms, it changes the sites they actually visit. For example, if someone was searching for “What is search engine marketing”, suggestions would also come up for search engine optimization, search engine visibility, and search engine evaluator. If the searcher decides that “search engine visibility” better fits their needs, and you didn’t optimize your site for that term, you’d be losing that traffic, even if your site has the information the searcher was looking for.
To make things more complicated, each user sees different options for their autocomplete results, based on their browsing history and location. Autocomplete will suggest previous searches (shown in purple) or similar searches to what you have already looked for. It’s also based on what others are looking for. Depending on what the most popular searches have been, the responses you see will change. That can make it even more challenging for you to customize your SEO campaign for the autocomplete feature.
What you need to do is concentrate not only on your primary keywords, but also related terms. Do keyword research to learn what other words you should be using. These related words not only give you a more well-rounded SEO campaign, they can also increase your ranking for your main keywords. Google uses related terms to boost the ranking power of the primary terms.
Google also updates their results on a regular basis, improving the suggestions searchers can choose from. This is meant to make searching easier and more as intuitive, as well as moving some of the nonsensical results further down the list of possible search terms. As Google Autocomplete matures, searchers will be able to find better results in less time. Search optimization will need to keep improving to make the most of these improvements.