Most modern search engines offer some kind of “autocomplete” function to help users search more quickly. While Google’s autocomplete search feature or “Google Suggest” has only been active on its site since 2008, autocomplete has become a feature of convenience we take for granted.
Once you start typing, the search engine automatically fills in what it thinks you’re searching for based on an algorithm of real things people have searched for in the past. The feature is designed to make life easier for you, because you can find what you’re looking for faster.
People use autocomplete in different ways. For instance, marketers use autocomplete to find new keywords to rank for in search engine optimization (SEO). It can also help you see things that are currently trending or popular in the internet world. Some people use search engine autocomplete to amuse themselves, with whole sites dedicated to the funniest or most ridiculous suggestions.
But autocomplete can be helpful to associations, too. Check out these three ways that search engine suggestions can benefit your organization.
1: Helping People Find YouImagine the following scenario: Your potential member is out there, searching frantically for an association to meet her needs. With over 90,000 recognized associations in the U.S. alone, it might be difficult to find the right one. Your potential member can search for an association based on a certain industry, offering specific benefits, or located in her area. With search engine suggestions, it’s easier to find what you’re really looking for, even if you didn’t know you needed it.
Great-she found your association! What’s next?
2: Optimize Your Member Benefits Packages
Another benefit of search engine suggestions is that they allow you to identify popular models or products that a manufacturer created. What does this mean in the association world? Autocomplete can help you identify services you might be leaving out of your member benefits packages. Search for your existing features, and see what else shows up.
3: In Your Own Site/App
Many associations are creating software applications to help members pay dues, download resources, get industry news, and more. If your association has an existing app or is thinking of creating one, incorporate search suggestions as a feature! This way, you’ll help your members get access to the info they need faster.
Sure, search engine suggestions can be hit or miss, but they’re definitely worth taking a second look at. While most of us take autocomplete for granted or laugh at its sillier suggestions, it also has plenty of useful applications for your association.