When generating these predictions, Google relies on popular search queries. Other factors include:
Autocomplete can also show if Google has included a company or its products as an entity and therefore in the knowledge graph.

How Does Autocomplete Work?

Google uses entities to map its knowledge graph (i.e., its understanding of the world). Thus including entities in your content will likely help Google categorize and match relevant search queries.

Screenshot of an autocomplete example for the phrase "google autocomplete"
Screenshot of an autocomplete example for the phrase "google autocomplete" Additionally, those suggestions could identify synonyms and related keywords, such as “missing” instead of “lost.”

Google autocomplete extends the search term as you type it, producing quicker results.
When working on a specific page or piece of content, don’t forget to use Google’s search refinements to include these keywords or angles in your optimization process.

Screenshot of "google classroom" search on a mobile brower's address bar
Screenshot of "google classroom" search on a mobile brower's address bar With autocomplete, Google is predicting a searcher’s intention. Those predictions likely impact searchers’ behavior because many will click a suggestion without completing the original term.

Autocomplete extends a query to target a searcher’s need and thus identifies possible keywords to target. If a search query is popular enough, Google will keep expanding it. (Hit the space bar at the end of each phrase.)

  • Trending search terms,
  • Searcher’s location,
  • Searcher’s past queries.

Searchers can disable personalization to remove their past search history from influencing Google’s predictions.

Autocomplete for Keyword Extension

Autocomplete is one of Google’s oldest search features and among the most useful to optimize organic rankings. Autocomplete is sometimes referred to as Google Suggest and was once called Google Instant.
Entities appear as a small image next to a suggestion and include the association to the query.

4 combined screenshots showing the progression of autocomplete
4 combined screenshots showing the progression of autocomplete Autocomplete also powers address bar suggestions on many popular browsers.

Autocomplete for New Keywords

Google’s refinements for a “lost cat” search include nearby towns and areas as well as lost-and-found platforms, such as Craigslist.

Screenshot showing a refinements for "Google Classroom not working on Mac"
Screenshot showing a refinements for "Google Classroom not working on Mac" Autocomplete can extend a keyword to target a searcher’s need. This example starts with the keyword “Google” and extends to “google classroom download mac os.”

Google’s autocomplete is more than a keyword research and optimization tool. It can also impact shoppers’ buying journeys on popular browsers. Keep a lookout on Google’s suggestions to know what prospects are searching for — on Google itself and in a browser’s address bar — including queries for your brand.
Google doesn’t explain how it identifies the refinements. They are likely actual queries after an initial search and, therefore, worth targeting.
A recent enhancement of autocomplete is identifying related “entities,” such as brands, places, people, books, and shows.

  • Nearby towns and areas,
  • Lost-and-found platforms.
Screenshot showing refinements for "lost cat albany ny" search
Screenshot showing refinements for "lost cat albany ny" search Autocomplete extends the search term while typing, producing quicker results.

For example, according to Google, people searching “lost cat” may be interested in:
Google once generated predictions before a query. Now Google will refine a query by showing suggestions afterward when users place their cursor in the search box after the results appear.

Autocomplete to Identify Entities

This makes Google autocomplete a crucial search-engine-optimization element, especially since it now powers address bar suggestions on many popular browsers, such as Safari and Google Chrome.
The difference between search predictions and refinements is the latter doesn’t necessarily contain the original query. Say a user searches “Google Classroom not working on Mac.” If she places her cursor back into the search box, autocomplete will attempt to pinpoint the need by suggesting “google classroom not opening in chrome” and “how to fix google classroom not loading.”
In this post, I’ll answer common questions on autocomplete.
Ann Smarty is an entity (and the author of this article).

Screenshot of search "ann sma" with suggestions including Ann Smarty's name and image
Screenshot of search "ann sma" with suggestions including Ann Smarty's name and image Say a searcher is looking to download the Google Classroom app for the Mac. She starts by typing “g-o-o-g-l-e.” Autocomplete will then extend the keyword “google” with each additional keystroke — from “google” to “google classroom” to “google classroom download” to “google classroom download mac os.”

Keep a Lookout

Google will refine a search query when users place their cursor in the search box after the results appear.

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