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How Effective is Search Box Optimization (SBO)?

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on May 26, 2023

You have probably seen a lot of communications from Umbrella recently about white label search box optimization services. Though it sounds great, you may well ask yourself “How effective is search box optimization”?

This article covers what you want to know. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s briefly review the basics of search box optimization.

How Search Box Optimization Works

Whenever you perform a search into Google or Bing, auto suggestions pop up. You can save time by just clicking on one of those suggestions to be taken to a page of relevant search results.

Now what if your client’s company could appear in these search engine autosuggestions when people are searching for products or services they offer?

Say someone in the Boston area types in the search “personal injury lawyer Boston.” Google and Bing will list a handful of autocomplete options such as “best personal injury lawyer Boston,” “personal injury attorneys Boston reviews” and similar options. If your client is an attorney who wants more web traffic, using search box optimization (SBO), your client could appear in that short list of auto suggestions.

See this example for attorney Michael O. Smith. There are a huge number of personal injury attorneys in Boston, but your client could be the only one that appears due to search box optimization.

This is already a win, because the user has seen the name Michael O. Smith as though recommended by Google over all the other personal injury attorneys in the area.

But it gets better. If the user clicks on the autosuggestion “personal injury attorney Boston Michael O. Smith,” they are taken to an entire page of search results dedicated exclusively to Michael O. Smith results. Your client is not just one of many on the search results page. Only links related to your client appear on the search results page. It’s a monopoly of search results.

This looks like the below screen.

Search Engine Optimization is Extremely Effective

This sounds great to grab traffic before anyone even sees competitive links. But just how effective is search box optimization?

The only way for search box optimization to be effective is if many people are clicking on search engine autosuggestions when they type in a search query. Let’s focus on Google, since over 90% of search queries are on Google.

Google says “Autocomplete is a feature within Google Search designed to make it faster to complete searches that you’re beginning to type.” Autocomplete reduces typing by about 25%. And boy, do people use it!

According to Google, autocomplete saves over 200 years of typing per day! In other words, people heavily use autocomplete. It’s a tool that people regularly rely on when doing searches. It can be particularly helpful on mobile devices where typing is more difficult.

Search Engine Optimization Through Autocomplete Shapes Customer Behavior

Search box autosuggests play a significant role in shaping customer behavior by guiding searchers toward popular or relevant queries.

  • According to a recent study, people searching on Google use autocomplete suggestions 23% of the time.
  • The majority (59%) of those searching on Google only visit a single page during their search session. That means if they select your client’s company from autocomplete, they will be taken to a page all about your client’s company. And they are unlikely to look further.

Users tend to trust autocomplete suggestions as recommended by the search engine. They see the search engine as a reliable source, and the autocomplete suggestions as sanctioned. That means if your client’s company appears as a search engine autocomplete suggestion, the user will automatically trust the company more.

A survey by Search Engine Journal revealed that 63% of respondents trust autofilled suggestions and find them useful in guiding their search process. In fact, people trust Google for news more than they trust other media.

AutoComplete Is Available Where Your Audience is Likely Search

Autocomplete from either Google or Bing is available most places you are likely to find a search box. It is delivered in the top browsers: Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. It’s available on the Google app for both Android and IOS, the quick search box in Android and the Google search box in Chrome.

Does Search Engine Optimization Replace SEO or SEM?

Search box optimization is different from SEO (organic search results) or SEM (paid search results).

Both SEO and SEM help drive traffic to your clients’ websites. But once a user gets to a search results page, even if your client is listed, they will still have to vie for attention among plenty of other businesses. With SBO, once a user clicks on an autosuggestion for your client, they are taken to a page that ONLY has links to your client’s website.

Normally, you will want to use SBO as another tool in your marketing toolkit. We don’t recommend that you immediately jettison all your SEO and SEM efforts. However, we think you may find that once you implement search box optimization for your client, you will drive significantly more traffic and may be able to cut back on SEO and SEM efforts.

How Do I Get Search Box Optimization for My Clients?

Now that you have an answer to the question, “How effective is search box optimization,” you may want to make it available to your clients. Contact Umbrella for a free consultation about white label search box optimization services through this Umbrella website form or by calling 1(866) 760-2638. Our experts can help you immediately get your clients started on SBO.

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