Search Box Optimization: Everything You Should Know

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Search Box Optimization (SBO) is the process of tricking Google to put your brand or blog name in Google suggest. It's a spurious technique.

It is estimated about 75% of the users' search queries are influenced by Google Autosuggestions. So many internet marketers are making use of Search Box Optimization to make the users opt for their brand before hitting the search button.

If I were one among those folks who named it as Search Box Optimization, I would name it as Search Suggest Optimization.

It's a blackhat technique. Here you are basically tricking the Google Algorithm, by manipulating searches.

As an SEO geek, you must know the basics and how SBO is done.

Why Search Box Optimization is done?
As I have said earlier, SBO results in the appearance of your brand name in Google suggest. So what's the use? If Google suggests your site for its visitors, isn't it cool?

As a result, you will get more CTR in search results**. People more likely trust you (Because Google suggested your brand).

How it is done?

The main point of SBO is to make your target term appear in Google Autosuggest.

For this, they adopt these techniques,

  • Using bots and proxies to search for the target term tons of times in Google.
  • Manually searching for the term, using different proxies. To make the process natural for Google.
  • Via services like Fiverr, oDesk.
  • Encouraging users all over the world to search for your brand.

Or by these kind of spam comments.


It's actually working.

SBO attempt in success

He is ranking for the term!

SBO success

There are also several services for search box optimization. You may want to take a look at Fiverr Gigs, or on any other micro job sites.

How search box position of a term is determined?

Nowadays, search box has become the mini-search engine results page. You can get answers to several questions by making use of autosuggest itself.

There is an order in the terms that Google suggests right? What is the reason behind that order?

The search terms that Google suggests, is based on the following.

  • High search volume
  • High click through rate
  • More search diversity. Searches from various different countries and regions.
  • More mentions on the web
  • More mentions in anchor texts
  • Personal searches or search history.
  • Locality that the search user is living. Location base personalization.

Is search box optimization worth it?

As I said earlier, about 75% of the user search queries are affected by Google autosuggest. That means, if a search marketer optimizes his brand for search box, then there may be an increased chance of him doubling the traffic.

Ask yourself the question, “How many times I made use of Google autosuggest?”. Almost every time isn't it.

Search box Optimization is definitely worth it.

How long does the term in Google autosuggest last?

This entirely depends upon the interaction of the user with Google after clicking on the auto suggest term.
That means, if user clicks on the autosuggestion does not interact with SERPs, then the particular term may demote in Google in auto suggest.

So while doing search box optimization it's important to interact with the search engine results. By merely doing searches for your brand and never clicking on the links and the results page, may look fishy.

Take an example. You have optimized a keyword to appear in Google suggest. On clicking the term (yours) suggested by Google. The user enters your web page. Now Google tracks the user experience on your page.
If the user experience is bad, then it may demote your webpage in SERPs. So in order to maintain the position in Google suggestions you need quality content.

Consider your brand as “xyz”. If a user types in “XY” in Google and made use of the Google's suggestion, “xyz”. Then landed on your “XYZ Blog”. Google now tracks his interaction with your blog.
If the average page visit duration is high and bounce rate of the user is low** on your blog. Google concludes that the search users are actually benefiting by the search suggestion “xyz”.

If that's not the case, then your search suggestion may last for two month

Final words

It's actually not a legitimate practice. If you are a serious about your online career, you should not do that. However, if you're experimenting, well, that's great.

If you can notice that you are tricking the search engine, it may demote your search engine rankings. For example, if there are tons of searches for your brand, and no interaction on the search engine results page. Then it is an easy job for Google to hunt you.

Most of the times, using bots or proxies may also not help. Because these automated tools, follow some particular known pattern while searching for your brand name in Google. In this case natural searching patterns or natural searches work.

Also, it is worthwhile to note that sudden spikes in the number of searches for your brand sounds fishy.

As a said earlier, search box optimization is one of the black hat SEO practices. It's up to you whether to follow this strategy or not.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission with no additional cost incurred to you. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Akshay HallurAbout me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures.

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

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10 thoughts on “Search Box Optimization: Everything You Should Know”

  1. Thanks for the article Akshay.

    No doubt, it’s not a legitimate way for optimization and I never practised such things in the past nor did I plan to do it in the future.

    A small mistake in the second para Akshay. Seems you pressed enter button twice by mistake. The space in the word “search” needs to be corrected. 🙂

  2. Yeah Kamal. It’s definitely a illegitimate practice. As an SEO geek, one should know all hats. Knowing all the existing strategies, gives rise to new ideas.
    Thanks for heads up. Corrected the spacing mistake.


  3. Eduard Dimitrov

    Google is smart enough and count all stats, referrers and how you search. So, if you want to have success on SBO, you need to search manual from keyboard, but from many different IP’s. Or you need some smart system that typing letters one by one, just like system on website.

    1. Changing Ips from the same location? I doubt that. Because Google sends to be tracking Tor Browser also. Once when I was searching in Tor, Google asked me to solve Captcha. That Captcha was “Torkrt”. It’s the way that Google says to you that, “I’m tracking you, I’m smarter”.

      Getting manual searches from real people around the world may work. However after searching, the interaction they do in SERPs also matters a lot.


  4. This is an old thread, however I thought I would freshen it up a little bit. When this article was written, I do believe what you outlined above to be very true. As the Panda update was rolled out, new rules on how the Auto-Suggest works also were updated. No longer can typing in a random long tailed keyword many times work (organically, or through the use of bots & proxies) but rather there are 3 very distinct ways in which the auto suggest does work. 1) News – News cycles hit hard and fast. For instance, if a famous person dies and there is a large amount of press (Press, not searches), Google auto suggest will pick this up as trending rather quickly. This aspect of Google’s auto suggest cannot be optimized simply due to the large amount of work it would actually take (it is just not feasible). 2) Social – The Panda update was heavily weighted towards social media and this holds true for auto suggest. What is trending socially in a robust way will end up in Google’s auto suggest. This way CAN be done, specifically organically with clean marketing techniques.

    The auto suggest feature actually works rather similarly to standard SEO practices, however instead of optimizing for a specific long tail keyword, you simply have to change what it being optimized and solely use social media as a way to get that modified long tail key word trending.

    1. Thanks for adding value to the post, Justin. Google seems to be considering various other factors other than repeated searches to suggest the searches. I think the strategy will still work a bit for non-mainstream keywords, but effectiveness hs been drastically reduced.


  5. I’m new to SBO but I am curious. I had a local company give me some key phrases and they worked when I put them into Google suggestions. What can it hurt? I’ll continue to research…

  6. Dheeraj Chohil

    Hi Akshay,

    As per my point of view, Its not a Black Hat actually. We can say that its a part of Marketing Technique. When i first heard about it, i thought that it is impossible to do SSO (Search Suggestion Optimization) :). But when i think about the power of SSO, that is unbelievable. I started doing research on it in late 2014, and i got my first result in January 2015, after that i had worked for 300+ clients successfully and they are getting what a company can expect.

    Reason why i am saying that its not a Black Hat, is that i am implementing each and every SEO practice to influence suggestions, and i got results. Neighter i am using people to do searches, neither i am using nay bot to do searches. I am just doing the regular work.

    Let me know if nay of you need any reference for my clientele success.



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