Google’s Did You Mean

November 30, 2007

You surely have seen it, or you might even use it as a spell checker daily. If you search in Google and spell your word or phrase incorrectly, Google will ask, “Did you mean…?” with a suggestion link to an alternative search result page.

Sounds like a great idea, and usually it works very well. However, let’s imagine a scenario where your brand name is close to an actual word. If my company name was ‘Fintastic Fins’, and a potential customer heard about me and searched on Google, they might instead get a search result that directs that to click on the “Did you mean…” link for ‘Fantastic Fins’. This wouldn’t be so bad, unless of course my competitor’s name was ‘Fantastic Fins.’ In which case, it would seem Google is recommending my competition over me.

What Do You Do?

There are various ways to overcome this issue. The first is to make your brand name so well known that it is used across the web, and searched for consistently. This should make Google realize the term is legitimate and that searchers, “Did not mean…” anything except for what they typed in.

Another option is to submit a request to Google to stop the correction. This is unlikely to produce any results, as it would mean Google would either have to adjust their algorithm or hand edit it, which is rare but does happen on occasion. An alternative is to attempt to rank for the generic term of ‘fantastic fins’. Since it is generic and very on-target based on your content (presumably ‘Fintastic Fins’ makes really good fins) there is no reason your site shouldn’t rank for it. You may also want to bid on the term using Google AdWords, to ensure those looking for your site and/or products find you.

If you are having this issue or similar problems, you may want to contact Sales & Marketing Technologies for a free website and Digital marketing consultation. From there we can dissect your site and strategy to make sure your business succeeds online.

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