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Search on Company Name Causes Problems
Google: Did you mean [Insert Bad Word Here]?

 7:12 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just out of curiosity, what does it take to not have Google suggest an alternative spell word for a given search phrase.

Here's why I ask.

When my friend enters his company name, it comes back with "Did you mean [Insert Bad Word Here]?" at the top of the SERP.

It's not that bad, but it has a negative connotation. It'd be like if his company name were Bonheid and it came back and said "Did you mean Bonehead?".

I mean, subconsciously, you probably lose the sale right there, don't you think.

If I do a spell check on my own company name, not in Google, it comes up with a dictionary suggestion. But when I search in Google, it doesn't say "Did you mean _____?". So, for some reason, my friend's company is viewed as a spelling error and my company isn't.

Any insights on this? I'm just curious. Believe me, my friend has much bigger things to worry about than this. But I thought I'd ask anyway.



 11:59 pm on Jul 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting. I would guess there would be some threshold of the number of sites with that spelling that would trigger its inclusion in google's dictionary.


 12:17 am on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been pondering this issue as well as I have a site for a company with a rather unique name who's results initially came up with a "did you mean [insert-another-company-name-here]"?

I was surprised that after just over a month of having the site and one of its subdomains indexed that the "did you mean..." has disappeared. In total 56 pages indexed, 101 results returned for the company name search (many of which *are* typos), only one external link that I'm aware of from a pr5 page (with company name anchor text).

I didn't think it would be this easy! Good luck to you :)


 12:26 am on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

A popular international real estate company uses a forward slash in their company name. Even though the proper spelling returns close to a million more results, Google still recommends the improper spelling (w/o the forward slash).


 6:45 am on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)


you might also find that the suggestion can differ per language google version you are using (google.fr etc).

Since Google started doing this in 2002 or so it took Google two years to decide my url company name was actually well embedded, rightfully existing and (internationally?) well searched enough. Meanwhile the "did you mean" suggestion to another non-existing word of another company drove me nuts. I even wondered if it was a registerd trademark issue (it seemingly isn't).

Now I enjoy the reverse, misspelling searches sometimes revert to my name.


 6:59 am on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Now I enjoy the reverse, misspelling searches sometimes revert to my name.

Nice, I donít know why I did not think to try that. It worked. I feel like somebody. My guess that there is a threshold of number of pages indexed or number of links.


 10:14 am on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

A search for my company name used to come up with a "DID YOU MEAN?" but not any more. I now see 1030 pages in the results so I guess the threshold for inclusion in the main dictionary must be below this value.



 9:21 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same here. Google used to give an [irrelevant] suggestion to one of my company names when I had first started it. But when it gained enough PR and I had a decent amount of web pages containing the name, it stopped doing that.

Bottom-line: It should be fixed once you have enough web pages containing your company name - regardless of what site it is from.



 11:45 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google uses the "Did you mean...?" feature when someone searches for a site that isn't established yet. After the site has been in the index at least one complete cycle it should stop.

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