Does anyone know how to control the items that show up in the Google suggest dropdown? I've heard it might be based on clicks, but it seems like it might be caused by site content more than anything. What should we do to control what items appear in the dropdown when someone is typing in the search box at google.com?
Google's Suggestions are not based on clicks - they are based on how frequently different users type in those search terms.
And before you even think about the idea, know that Google has protections in place so that you cannot influence Search Suggestions by doing lots of automated searches. There's no way I know of that a webmaster can directly control which terms get included.
I am agree with tedster.Also, i have observed, for a particular or unique term, will appear suggestions only if the term have a minimum of x searches per day or per month (i don't know the number exactly).
I don't think anyone outside the engineers know what controls it.
We changed names over a year ago and in Google Analytics our #2 keyword traffic referrer is a 5 word phrase with our old name, a comma and a state abbreviation. It also matches the #2 Google suggestion when you type the first 4 letters of our brand.
We put in a lot of effort to clear up all of our tv, radio, web, and print advertising to not use our old company name. So in January I was curious as to why we were still getting so much traffic from a phrase that used our old name as well as a comma and state abbreviation. Once I went and actually paid attention to the Google suggestions for our brand it was apparent what was going on.
Everyone keeps using that suggestion so Google doesn't remove it - even though you won't find that combo of words anywhere on our site.