How To Keep Unwanted Google Suggestions From Reappearing

So, you’ve just invested in fixing Google’s suggestions about you or your business. You’ve got ten positive suggestions that represent you or your brand the way you want. Now, how do you keep the negative suggestions from coming back?

The quick answer is to keep up the search activity for your positive terms.

If you stop all search activity when your campaign ends, you run the risk of seeing your negative suggestion(s) return. Why does this happen? The answer in a moment. First, let me share how Autocomplete works.

Understanding How Google Autocomplete Works

Many clients who call us ask, “How did the negative suggestion(s) get there in the first place?”

If we assume there is no search activity for a term before it becomes a suggestion, then there is only one answer: Content.

Google makes a connection between your name and content posted about you online and adds it to the suggestions that appear when you Google yourself.

So, after your campaign has ended successfully, if you choose not to do ongoing monthly maintenance – in the form of search activity – you run the risk of the negative term coming back, just like it did in the first place.

Of course, you won’t see it right away because just as it takes a few months for Google to recognize our positive search activity, it also takes them a few months to recognize there’s NO search activity.

Over time, positive suggestions can drop off and negative ones can reappear.

How Often Do Negative Suggestions Reappear?

We’ve seen negative suggestions come back in about 50% of the cases we’ve handled.

We know you don’t want to keep paying month after month, but if you don’t maintain a minimal level of search activity that exceeds the search volume for your negative term(s), you do risk losing the impact of all the work we’ve done.

We recommend monthly ongoing search activity for all clients and we always recommend the absolute minimum we feel will be sufficient to keep your suggestions looking good.

Will Monthly Search Activity Guarantee My Suggestions Stay Fixed?

Of course, there is never a guarantee with Google. I’m seeing signs that they’ve already begun honing their autocomplete algorithm. I’ve seen plenty of cases recently where results not only change from one city to the next, but they’re also different from one hour to the next in the same city.

Yes, literally, I’ve checked on a client in the morning, seeing one set of suggestions, then by lunch, the same search pulls up different suggestions. By early afternoon, they’ve changed yet again, back to the original set.

Much like Google search results can change frequently, I believe this form of “Google Dance” can also have an impact on the suggestions we see – especially when search activity has ended.

Again, another reason why we recommend monthly maintenance.

Maintenance Costs

Depending on your particular case, expect monthly maintenance to cost anywhere from 10-50% of your usual monthly campaign price.

If you have questions about Google autocomplete and how it works, we’ve been studying it pretty closely and have handled a variety of local and national cases. Give us a call at 503-890-6663 for a speedy consultation and a quote.