Long gone are the days of calling a friend to ask where they got those shoes or pulling out a dictionary to check the definition of a word. Now it seems so simple to just bring up a search engine, type what we are looking for, and take the top result for the truth. A quote overheard in conversation or a brand name can be quickly typed and explored in the privacy of your home (or mobile device) without having to reveal the embarrassment of not knowing exactly what everyone was talking about. School papers and work projects receive the same discretion (often less) to acquire the information required to impress teacher or employer. Shopping by foot is replaced easily by browsing by hand (even in your underwear). All it takes is the internet and a search engine and everything comes to you, instead of you going to it.

Search engines are greatly taken advantage of, and rightly so, as they get well-compensated for your free use (your brain is being filled with advertising). The programming behind the engine has to be highly intuitive, because many different types of users utilize it in many different ways. Search engines have to balance between using technical language and what is referred to as natural language, basically how the common person speaks (or even misspells). One person might enter in a full quote while another paraphrases, bringing drastically different results.  Our job as search engine marketers is to understand how you are using search.

For example, the average person types a string of words into a search engine, often times as a question, not realizing how many keystrokes they are wasting (and their own time as well). Search engines (like honey badgers) really don’t care. They are programmed to ignore most common filler words, such as “the”, “a”, “as”, “of”, etc. Search engines also don’t recognize a personalized question, such as “why does my head hurt after drinking too much alcohol?”. In this example, the only words that probably will meet any keyword criteria will be head, hurt, drinking, and alcohol. The best approach is to use simple words without modifiers in a string of descriptive words and out of proper sentence structure.

To most efficiently and effectively approach your searching, pick the most descriptive words you can think of that fully embody your search target. If you need to use a phrase or two words that must be together, put it in quotation marks and add any other words outside the punctuation. Check the name of the website before you click it and make sure it could be what you’re looking for and not a website spamming words just to get hits. But most of all be patient. It might take a few tries to find the right search words and it may not be the top website on the list.

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