On-Page SEO

Google Autocomplete

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Apr 14, 2023

Google Autocomplete

What is Google Autocomplete?

Autocomplete is a feature in Google Search that helps you complete your search query faster. When you start typing in the Google search box, Autocomplete predicts relevant search terms based on what you've typed so far.

Google introduced this feature in 2004 as an experiment, and it became fully available as “Google Suggest” in 2008. In 2010, Google renamed it “Autocomplete”.

Autocomplete is available on different Google platforms, including the Google homepage, the Google app for iOS and Android, the quick search box in Android, and the Omnibox address bar in Chrome.

How does Google Autocomplete work?

Google Search uses an algorithm to predict what people might be searching for based on real searches made by other people.

Autocomplete is a feature that predicts popular and trending search queries relevant to the characters you type in the search bar.

To predict these search queries, Autocomplete considers several key factors. These include:

  • the overall popularity of the search term

  • trending topics

  • your search history

  • your location

Autocomplete uses all of this data to automatically predict what you might be looking for.

For instance, if you frequently search for vegan recipes, Autocomplete might suggest "vegan pizza recipe" or "vegan meal prep ideas" as you start typing "vegan".

Similarly, if you are searching for local restaurants, Autocomplete might suggest nearby restaurants based on your location.

However, it's important to note that Autocomplete predictions are not always perfect and may not always reflect what you're looking for.

So it's always a good idea to double-check the results and refine your search query if necessary.

The popularity of the search term

When it comes to predicting search queries, there is a relationship between what is popular and what is currently trending.

However, trends can be short-lived, while some topics may always be commonly associated with each other.

Though some searches are more frequently made than others, sometimes less popular searches may be shown above more popular ones if Google believes they are more relevant to the user.

In short, personalized searches that are more relevant to the user are given priority over popular searches that may not be as relevant to their specific needs.

Trending topics

Trending searches are search queries that suddenly spike in popularity due to a specific event or trend.

Even if a search term hasn't gained long-term popularity, it can still appear as a suggestion in Autocomplete if many people are searching for it at the same time.

For instance, if a video of a cat doing something funny goes viral, people may start searching for related terms such as "funny cat videos" or "cat fails" in large numbers.

As a result of this sudden surge in searches, these terms may appear as suggestions in Autocomplete, even if they haven't been widely searched for previously.

This is because Autocomplete recognizes the current trend and suggests the most relevant search terms to users based on their search history and location.

However, as the trend fades and fewer people continue to search for these terms, they may eventually drop out of Autocomplete suggestions and be replaced by other more relevant or popular search queries

Your search history

Autocomplete predictions are personalized based on the individual's previous search queries.

When you start typing in the search bar, Google sifts through your past searches to identify what you might be looking for and suggests relevant search queries accordingly.

If you have previously searched for a specific term, it may appear in the Autocomplete suggestions list with the text highlighted in purple.

Search history Google autocomplete

On the desktop, you can click the "Delete" button next to the prediction if you want to delete the past search.

On mobile, there is a clock icon on the left for previous searches and an X button on the right to remove it.

If you want to delete all of your previous searches in bulk or by particular dates or those matching specific terms, you can use the My Activity feature in your Google Account.

This feature allows you to manage your search history regardless of the device you use to search.

Your location

The Autocomplete feature in Google Search is personalized and can vary depending on factors such as language and location.

The suggestions you receive may differ from those of someone else due to the language you're searching in and the location you're searching from.

Different countries, states, and cities can produce different Autocomplete suggestions, depending on what people are searching for in those locations.

In addition, if you've indicated to Google that you prefer to search in a particular language or if Google has assumed your preferred language based on your browser's settings, Autocomplete suggestions may be tailored to that language. 

For example, if you prefer to search in Spanish, Autocomplete may suggest Spanish-language search terms based on what people are commonly searching for in that language.

Overall, Autocomplete is a personalized feature that takes into account various factors such as language and location to provide relevant search suggestions to individual users.

Benefits of using Google Autocomplete for search queries

The primary benefit of using Google Autocomplete is its ability to save time and provide relevant search results.

It can help users refine their search queries and find the information they need quickly.

Additionally, Google Autocomplete can be helpful for businesses and website owners to optimize their content for search engines by providing insights into the most popular search queries for their industry or niche.

Why are some Autocomplete predictions removed?

Autocomplete in Google Search makes predictions based on what people are likely to search for next.

However, some predictions may be removed due to various factors such as controversial or illegal claims and inappropriate or offensive suggestions.

In 2010, Google rebranded Autocomplete to move away from the term "Suggest" as it did not always offer the most thoughtful or appropriate term.

The company now prefers to use "predictions" and is committed to improving the service by monitoring searches and taking feedback.

Google removes predictions that violate its Autocomplete policies.

Google autocomplete policies

In addition, Google may remove predictions that are considered spam, closely associated with piracy, or in response to valid legal requests.

Overall, Google is committed to providing a safe and appropriate search experience for all users and works to remove predictions that could be harmful, offensive, or inappropriate.

How do inappropriate Autocomplete predictions happen?

Google has systems in place to catch and remove inappropriate Autocomplete predictions. However, with billions of searches processed every day, sometimes inappropriate predictions can slip through the system.

Some predictions may seem odd, shocking, or questionable, but looking at the search results generated can provide context.

In some cases, the search results themselves may show that the prediction does not necessarily reflect harmful opinions, but instead is related to specific content that some people may be looking for.

For example, a search for "white power" may generate Autocomplete predictions, but the search results may show that the term is used in the context of a song or a movie, rather than promoting harmful views.

This is why some popular searches, as measured by Google Trends, may not appear as predictions in Autocomplete.

Google Trends is a tool designed to research the popularity of search topics over time, regardless of the search intent.

While Google has measures in place to prevent inappropriate Autocomplete predictions, users should still be critical of search results and consider the context of the search term and its associated results.

How to report inappropriate Autocomplete predictions?

If you come across an Autocomplete prediction that seems inappropriate, offensive, or uncomfortable, you can report it to Google using the "Report inappropriate predictions" link that appears below the search box on the desktop.

Report inappropriate Autocomplete predictions

For mobile users or those using the Google app for Android, long-pressing on a prediction will bring up a reporting option. In the Google app on iOS, users can swipe to the left to access the reporting option.

When a prediction is reported, Google does not just remove it but also investigates closely related predictions to provide a broader solution and prevent inappropriate predictions from appearing in the future.

This ensures that the Autocomplete feature remains a safe and appropriate search experience for all users.

How can you use Google Autocomplete for SEO?

Google Autocomplete can be a useful tool for search engine optimization by providing insight into the search behavior of users and helping to identify popular or trending search queries.

Here are some ways you can use Autocomplete for SEO:

Keyword research

Autocomplete provides suggestions based on what people are actually searching for, giving you valuable insight into the keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your industry or business.

For example, if you run a coffee shop, you might start typing "best coffee" and see that Autocomplete suggests "best coffee near me" or "best coffee shops in [your city]".

You can use this information to optimize your website content and target these keywords.

Keyword research Google autocomplete

Content creation

By analyzing Autocomplete suggestions, you can identify popular topics or questions that people are searching for, which can help you create content that is relevant and valuable to your audience.

For example, if you run a fitness blog, you might start typing "how to lose" and see that Autocomplete suggests "how to lose weight fast" or "how to lose belly fat".

You can use this information to create blog posts or videos that answer these questions and provide valuable information to your audience.

Local SEO

Autocomplete can provide location-specific search queries, which can be especially useful for businesses that have a physical location.

For example, if you run a pizza restaurant in Chicago, you might start typing "pizza" and see that Autocomplete suggests "pizza delivery Chicago" or "deep dish pizza Chicago".

You can use this information to optimize your website content and target these location-specific keywords.

Brand monitoring

Autocomplete can suggest queries related to your brand or industry, which can help you monitor your online reputation and identify any negative or positive sentiment associated with your brand.

For example, if you run a tech company, you might start typing your brand name and see that Autocomplete suggests "company reviews" or "company culture".

You can use this information to monitor your online reputation and address any issues or concerns that arise.

Drawbacks of Google Autocomplete

While Google Autocomplete can be a useful tool for search engine optimization and user convenience, there are also some drawbacks and limitations to consider:

Problem 1: Autocomplete predictions are based on previous search queries made by real people, which means they can be influenced by biases and stereotypes. This can result in incorrect or offensive suggestions that don't reflect the reality of a situation.

Solution: Google has measures in place to prevent inappropriate and biased Autocomplete predictions, but users can also report inappropriate suggestions through the "Report inappropriate predictions". Google also encourages users to provide feedback on predictions to help improve the service.

Problem 2: Autocomplete only provides a limited number of suggestions, which means users may miss out on other relevant or useful search queries that are not included.

Solution: While Autocomplete only provides a limited number of suggestions, users can conduct a full search to see more results or use other keyword research tools to identify additional relevant keywords.

Problem 3: Despite Google's efforts to prevent inappropriate predictions, some slip through the system, and users may still come across offensive or harmful suggestions.

Solution: If users come across inappropriate predictions, they can report them using the reporting feature provided. Google also investigates related predictions to provide a broader solution and prevent inappropriate predictions from being made in the future.

Problem 4: Autocomplete suggestions are generated automatically, and there is no way for users to manually add or remove suggestions. This can be frustrating for businesses or individuals who want to control their online reputation or target specific keywords.

Solution: While there is no way for users to manually add or remove suggestions, businesses or individuals can optimize their website content for specific keywords to increase the likelihood of those keywords appearing as Autocomplete suggestions.

Problem 5: Autocomplete suggestions can vary depending on the language and location of the user, which means that some suggestions may not be relevant or useful for all users.

Solution: Users can change their language or location settings to see more relevant Autocomplete suggestions. Businesses or individuals targeting specific locations or languages can also optimize their website content accordingly.

Overall, while there are limitations and potential issues associated with Google Autocomplete, users can take steps to mitigate these issues and make the most of the service.


The future of Google Autocomplete looks promising, with the potential for new features, improved accuracy, and enhanced user experience.

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect Autocomplete to remain a key tool for search engine optimization and a valuable resource for users looking to find information quickly and easily.

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