Google Autocomplete generates the predictive suggestions you see when you start typing a search query into Google, like below.
As Google explains here, Autocomplete predictions are automatically generated by an algorithm without any human involvement. The algorithm is based on a number of objective factors, including how often others have searched for a word.
This means that Google Autocomplete can be a useful source of information for keyword research purposes, particularly because it can surface keywords which, for whatever reasons, Google chooses not to shown in the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.
Checking Autocomplete manually is tedious and so a number of very useful tools have been developed to automate the process using the Autocomplete API. Two particularly good tools are Übersuggest and the less imaginatively named, but arguably better, Keyword Tool.
Unfortunately last week, to the annoyance and frustration of search marketers around the globe, Google suddenly announced that on August 10 they will be closing down their Autocomplete API. This is bad news for tools like the ones above which rely on the API to function.
Why should you care?
It’s not the first time Google’s disrupted the search industry with unexpected unilateral moves like this and it wins them few friends. Frankly it’s easy to take a highly cynical view on the reasons Google gives for taking this action. It’s evident from comments on Google’s WebMasterCentral blog and elsewhere that most search marketers feel like we do. “Very unhappy” would be the polite way to put it.
I reached out to Keyword Tool to ask if this would mean the end of their tool. Co-Founder Adam Leow advised me they aren’t completely sure yet whether it would affect their services, but are working on alternative solutions to circumvent this.
Here’s hoping they and other tools using the API can come up with something.
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Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).