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Search Box Optimization for Small Business: Why You Need It

By Deborah Kurfiss on May 24, 2023

As a small business owner, it’s important to drive customers to your business in the most cost effective way possible. You are probably already using SEO (search engine optimization) to try to be listed at the top of search engine results pages. You may also be using SEM (search engine marketing) to pay for ads and search engine listings. Now, you should seriously consider using SBO for small business.

Though both SEO and SEM are very effective marketing tools, they are hardly secrets. Your competition is using them too. Even if your battle to get on the first page of Google, Bing or YouTube is successful, your prospect will be faced not just with information about your business but also that of competitive businesses.

Now you can grab customer attention before they ever get to a search results page where you have to compete for attention. You can do this through search box optimization, and it’s unlikely any of your competition even knows about it.

Search Box Optimization Enables Your Company to Appear in Search Autosuggest

When you perform a search on Google, Bing or YouTube, you’ve probably noticed that auto suggestions pop up. These suggestions save you time by offering relevant options that you can simply click on to see the search results you’re looking for.

Now, imagine if your client’s company could appear in those autosuggestions when people are searching for the products or services you offer.

With search box optimization (SBO), your company or its relevant products or services could be listed along with other prominent autosuggestions. Of course, when you click on an autosuggestion, you are taken to closely related search results.

As an example, if someone in the Boston area is in an auto accident and needs a lawyer, they might type “personal injury lawyer Boston” into Google or Bing. As they are typing, autosuggestions pop up such as

“best personal injury lawyer Boston” or “personal injury attorneys Boston reviews.” If you are an attorney in the Boston area, you can use search box optimization so your name or that of your firm appears.

It would look like this for attorney Michael O. Smith:

Notice that despite the huge number of personal injury attorneys in Boston, only the name of Michael O. Smith appears. You cannot be listed in autosuggestions without using search box optimization.

This would already be extremely valuable, because your prospects have seen your name as though recommended by Google over all the other personal injury attorneys in the Boston area.

But that’s just the beginning of the value of SBO for small business

Your Own Dedicated Search Results Page

Even bigger than prospects seeing your company’s name in autosuggest is that when they click on it, they are taken to a page of search results that are solely about your company.

If a user clicks on “personal injury attorney Boston Michael O. Smith,” they will arrive at a page of search results that all lead to Michael O. Smith’s web pages. There are no competitive listings. The entire page of search results is dedicated to your company and your company only.

This looks like the screen below:

Do People Regularly Use Autosuggestions?


Of course, for any of this to help your business, people must pay attention to and actually click on autosuggestions. According to a recent study, people searching on Google use autocomplete suggestions 23% of the time.

Using autosuggestions (autocomplete) is very popular because it reduces typing by 25%. Its purpose is to enable people to complete searches more quickly. People use autocomplete so much that according to Google it saves over 200 years of typing per day!

In addition to convenience, another reason people use autosuggestions is because they accept them as recommendations from the search engine, be it Google, Bing or YouTube. In a recent survey, 63% of respondents said they trust autosuggestions an think they are helpful when searching the Internet.


Can My Competitors Use the Same Keywords?

Once you select your keywords for SBO, they are yours alone. You have a monopoly on them. So, if you choose “personal injury attorney Boston” you will be the only attorney who can use that keyword for SBO. Yours will be the only result when someone types in that search.  

Can I Stop Using SEO and SEM if I use SBO?

SBO, SEO and SEM all help drive traffic to your website and increase engagement. We don’t recommend that you completely drop your SEO and SEM efforts when you start implementing SBO for small business.

Try them all and measure your results. You may find that you can cut back on some of your SEO and SEM efforts and save some money with SBO. But all marketing needs to be analyzed and measured.

How Do I Get Search Box Optimization for Small Business?

Contact Umbrella Local to schedule a free consultation about what search box optimization can do for your company by using this website form or by calling 1(646)440-1426. Remember, once you choose your SBO keywords, they are no longer available to your competition.

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