SEOs Lose Rankings Due to New "Did You Mean" Feature

Feb 4, 2009 • 9:05 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Last week, we reported that Google made the new "Did You Mean" feature a standard. Meaning, Google's search spelling suggestions are now acting in this new manner.

The issue is, many are complaining that they are getting killed by this. Some have e-commerce sites and this is resulting in Google dropping their position by at least two placements, due to showing the new "Did you mean" feature.

One example is brought by a webmaster in the Google Webmaster Help forum, who says a search for ecotrimmer returns this "did you mean" feature and pushes his site down to a much lower position, resulting in a huge sales slump for this business owner.

See how low this site is now on the Google search results in this screen capture:

Did You Mean and SEO

As you can imagine, this is not the only webmaster impacted by this change.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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02/04/2009 05:48 pm

Interestingly enough this caught my attention - so I decided to do a quasi-audit to help out you guys over at - Check it out.


02/04/2009 06:02 pm

What hurts one helps another. There are just as many "SEOs" happy with a feature like this because the top positions are that much more valuable.


02/04/2009 06:29 pm

Agree and disagree. But the basis of this is to figure out why this is happening.


02/04/2009 07:08 pm

As a search user I have already had this new feature bother me more than once for just that reason. Google was wrong, I did not mean something else so I was therefore forced into looking further down the page for the information I searched for. Google's did you mean is wrong to often to add this feature.

Michael Martinez

02/04/2009 10:51 pm

Did anyone lose any TRAFFIC? Screw the rankings. What counts is the converting traffic. How is traffic? How are conversions?


02/05/2009 12:07 am

Google use to suggest that the general term for my website 'supplement Centre' was actually 'supplement Center'... A competitor's web address. It doesnt seem to do this now as it slowly gives our website more value but suggesting a competitor straight away isnt good for business!


02/05/2009 12:56 am

Well from the post, it appears that sales decreased - so I would go out on a limb to say traffic decreased too?

Michael Martinez

02/05/2009 05:15 am

Derek, I see where Barry wrote that sales declined, but when I look at the original discussion I see no such indication.


02/05/2009 05:30 am

Agreed. I suppose this would be a good time for the site's owner to chime in :)

Tim Dineen

02/05/2009 05:47 am

Yay! Now I can typo and misspell more than evar! Google will figure out what I"m looking for?!? Completely agree with Ryan (as a user):Google's did you mean is wrong to often to add this feature. In so much as it hurts SEOs who try to gain rankings for words/items that users didn't intend to type-in, good riddance! But Google will need to do this carefully. And there may be better ways to do the weeding out.

Vin Sin

02/05/2009 06:38 am

Similarly when you search for Real Estate India, you can see the Google's News section after third result. This makes my website to drop one more position in the search result and it hurts very badly....


02/05/2009 04:43 pm

It's the typical case where Google thinks they know better than the user who is sitting in front of the computer and typing in what they really want - but Google tries to read your mind!! :)

Richard V. Burckhardt

02/05/2009 05:44 pm

This has been going on for quite a while. Different results for different clicks, sometimes on the same query. I blogged about it in June 2008. Click on my name to read the post.


02/05/2009 06:15 pm

It looks like Google has "learnt" that ray ban or rayban is not synonymous. So...I'm incline to hypothesize that "Did you mean" feature is largely Google's way to do data-mining for what majority thinks is relevant.

eric holder

02/08/2009 08:05 pm

the website in question should optimize for such nuances and get a step ahead of google's did you mean. additionally, as others pointed out, he's way behind the curve and has milked his site a long time without updating the basics of SEO


05/04/2009 06:36 am

we are searching for the optimization for our website which is a real estate web portal for indian property buyers


05/04/2009 06:37 am

we are searching for the optimization for our website which is a real estate web portal for indian property buyers


05/04/2009 06:39 am

seo for search for the indian property buyers , real estate web portal ,rent commercial in india

pallav bhatt

08/12/2009 05:12 am

Google take it from the dictionary for the nearest true spell of the searching phrase. i.e. any wrong phrase was entered in the search box, google check spell and display did you mean suggestion of true spell.

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