In 2012 Romania caused quite a buzz all over the Internet when they decided to clean up Google’s suggested search results related to “Romanians”. They succeeded, kind of.
Before I start that story I would love to introduce to you: SEO Fridays. Writing interesting content for a blog is a great idea however it’s not the most obvious task. Sometimes I run out of ideas. Sometimes I simply lack motivation. This happens to most bloggers, writers and content creators.
Welcome to the First Edition of SEO Fridays
I have decided to create a few different series/themes which will help me stay focused. This will allow me to produce more quality content for this blog and for you, my dear readers. On Fridays I will concentrate on writing content that’s related to Search Engine Optimizing. I will stick to SEO tips, tricks, news, reports and other things in the “search industry”.
Google’s Suggested Search
Whenever you are searching for something in Google, it will suggest some popular search phrases. Just start typing and Google will try to auto-complete your search query.
If in 2011 you searched: “Romanians are” Google would suggest negative phrases such as “Romanians are ugly”, “Romanians are stupid”, “Romanians are gypsies”, etc. To make the matters worse, Google was suggesting similar negative terms if you were typing the search in Romanian (romanii sunt), in French (les roumains sont) and some other languages. No wonder Romanians didn’t like these suggestions, who would?
How Does Google Come Up With Suggestions?
The suggested search terms are influenced by the amount of people looking for these terms. There are different variables to the algorithm, however it seems like the quantity of searches is one of the most important factors. Many SEO specialists run different tests and it seems like these suggestions can be easily changed – as long as you have enough people searching for specific phrases.
Romanians Are Smart.
ROM, one of Romania’s biggest brands decided to change the history. They created an online campaign enticing all Romanians to jump on Google search and start typing! ROM suggested people to Google-search phrases like “Romanians are smart”, “Romanians are Beautiful” and so on. You can read all the details of the campaign on Moz Blog.
Romanians started searching and the suggested search phrases started to change, eventually knocking all the unwanted terms off the search bar. Romanians became officially smart on Google suggested search.
Romanians Are Gone
Making your country “look better” by gaming Google’s algorithm is great and all however, as we all know, Google doesn’t appreciate it when their system is being gamed. Recent Rap Genius Story showed us that we should stick to Google’s rules.
Today I searched for “Romanians are” and here is what I got:
No suggestions at all! I don’t recall such experience. Sometimes Google suggests only a few terms but they always suggest something. It seems like Google was unhappy to such point, they manually removed all suggested searches for: “Romanians are”. It seems like all suggestions were removed for English only. Suggested terms still come up when searched in French or Romanian:
Should You Try To Influence Google Suggested Search?
Sometimes a brand, a company or even a person might want to change these search terms for different reasons. Should you do it? The short answer is NO. As I already mentioned, Google doesn’t like it when you try to outsmart their system.
Can you do it? Probably yes. The suggested searches for “Romanians are” were deleted mostly to prove a point. Google is showing everyone that it will not tolerate such behavior. However, RON did this on major scale; the campaign got a lot of publicity and criticism. If Google didn’t hear of this campaign, they probably wouldn’t have done anything at all.
Do You Have Anything to Add? Want to suggest a topic for the future SEO Fridays? Comment below!
2 thoughts on “Romanians Are Gone or How To Influence Suggested Search”
Haven’t heard of the Romanian campaign but if Google now doesn’t suggest anything then Romanians 1 – Google 0.
Jay, I actually haven’t heard of this campaign until recently. More importantly, when I first heard of it I thought: “Wow, that’s cool”. I never thought of it as “breaking google’s rules”.
And as you mention, it seems like Romania did win (at least for now). No suggestions is better than BAD suggestions 😉