It appears Google is going to be transitioning to the Google Suggest format as their new search default. This means that when a user performs a search in Google, Google will use a formula to decide what search phrases the user intends to search.
Obviously any major change to Google’s core search functionality will have a big impact on search engine marketers. Whether it will be a change for the good or bad is still widely up for debate. On the plus side for example, regional sites may see a boon from this as Google will be predicting results tailored to the user’s own region. On the flip side, while 3-4 word keyword phrases will likely see a huge increase in search volume, long tail keywords will not receive nearly as many searches, which negatively effect many sites that receive a great deal of long tail traffic.
New Search Functionality
Another interesting feature of the new Google suggest format will be the drop down mini SERP. This will essentially offer website the best possible search engine position as the mini SERP page will be free of any PPC ads, and top ranked sites on mini SERPs will surely garner a great deal of organic traffic.
Based on Google’s status in comparison to all other search engines, this is going to be a huge move. There’s no doubt this has the potential to completely change the future of search – for better or worse.
One pitfall is a reputation management nightmare.
For example, searching for “Obama” brings up suggest results including “Obama Antichrist” and “Obama Muslim”. These searches may have nothing to do with the person, and a searcher may have never known about potential references to “Muslim” but now they may click to find out. If you have positive results for potentially negative search queries this could be a big benefit.
Another potential problem is negative reviews, complaints or customer service issues. Terminix pest control has had complaints in the past, and they show in the search suggestions:
Google suggest presents unique challenges to search engine optimization companies and I am very curious to see what new SEO tactics arise out of auto generated search suggestions.