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Search Suggestions Overhaul - Just Before the Google Instant Launch

6:45 pm on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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From what I see, a major overhaul of Search Suggestions occurred just a few days before Google Instant Search was launched. All kinds of negative words (sucks, hate, scandal, scam, ripoff, etc) were removed from Suggestions except for situations like Goldman-Sachs where there is a documented scandal.

This was a much needed change. Previously, Search Suggestions were based heavily on search frequency alone - and many people routinely add a negative word to a company name just as a way of doing research.

The side effect was, up to now, an unintentional defamation against various organizations and companies via Search Suggestions who had no online negative reports. In fact, Google recently lost a judicial decision in France based on such defamation.

But having Instant Search throw those Suggestions at people would have been over the top, especially when there were almost zero results. Anyone who wants to do "scam" search can still do it, but they usually need to type in the complete query and complete an old-style search by pressing Enter.
7:53 am on Sept 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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In a related discussion on WebmasterWorld about the Google Keyword Tool...

Google Keyword tool - Showing very inaccurate data
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4200253.htm [webmasterworld.com]

...tedster quotes a comment from a Google employee on Google's Adword Support forum that's relevant here.

If you use both the previous and updated versions of the Keyword Tool to search for keywords, you may notice differences between the tools for statistics on Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches.

This is because the previous version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com search traffic AND traffic from search partners, while the updated version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com traffic only. We've updated these statistics based on user feedback, and hope you find them helpful for keyword selection.

[google.com...] [emphasis added]

I had used the previous Keyword Tool interface for the search frequency information I cite in posts above. It's clear now that the adjustments Google made on Suggest just before the launch of Instant were to bring it in line with the new Keyword Tool numbers. And these new numbers dropped the search partners, I assume because... to mesh with the Instant autocomplete algo... Google needed numbers that would reflect searcher behavior that was closer to the actual searches on the specific google domains themselves.

The new numbers are pretty much in line with what we're seeing on Instant, and I think also reflect the kind of localization I was describing, though the new search numbers reflect that localization as well.

Re singular/plural... instead of, say, a 9 to 1 predominance of plural vs singular for some of the terms I'd noted in the old Keyword Tool, in the New Keyword Tool there's roughly a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 preference for the plural "hotels.

The Paris Hotel Las Vegas is much more predominant search from the US than the previous numbers had suggested.

New Keyword Tool - Local Monthly Searches in US...
paris las vegas - 27,100
paris hotels - 9,900
paris hotel las vegas - 8,100
paris hotel - 5,400

Instant suggestions on Google.com, in US, from SF Bay Area...
paris las vegas
paris hotel
paris hotels
paris hotel las vegas

New Keyword Tool - Local Monthly Searches in UK...
paris hotels - 14,800
paris hotel - 5,400
paris hotel las vegas - 1,300
paris las vegas - 1,000

Instant on Google.co.uk (with a list of 5)
paris hotels

Then, for "paris ho"

paris hotels

and, further down the suggestion list...

paris hotel las vegas

Note that "paris hotel" singular wasn't suggested on UK Instant, at least not on a list of 5 that I saw.
This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31

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