Recently an entrepreneur told me he needed to find one hundred pieces of quality content for his company’s new blog.
“Piece of cake,” I said.
“WHAT?!?” He was totally skeptical, which surprised me. I thought everyone knew how to do a google search.
Anyway, he asked for a few pointers. I presented him with these 10 search term strategies.
I’m happy to report he found the stellar content he was searching for. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for, too.
Before getting to the 10 strategies for better Google searches, make a list (mental or written) of what you hope to find. Writers’ lists should include genres, topics, poetry formats, word lengths, etc. My most recent search was for watercolors and included search terms related to paints, papers, and name brands of watercolor suppliers.
Two keys: Be general. Be specific. They sound like opposites, I know. But you’ve got to use terminology everyone in your field uses, AND get specific about which aspect of the industry you want more info about.
Then add the following:
1. Use words like best, top, five stars.
2. Use superlatives in your field. If you’re searching for cleaning products, use search words like cleanest. Musician? Try rockin‘. (Fo realz.)
3. Put 2015 in the search bar, or since it’s early in the year, 2014. Eliminate obsolete answers from outdated websites.
4. Get specific. Looking for guitars? Use brand names like Fender or types like acoustic, bass, etc.
5. Enter the name of a specific item + “review.” Benefit from others’ experiences by reading reviews. (Bonus: “review” is an especially handy search word for writers since so many literary journals have the word in their title!)
6. Type in “how to” + whatever you’re interested in.
“How to dissect frog’s eye.”
“How to clean grout.”
“How to Coldplay Clocks bass line.”
(Note: search terms DO NOT have to be complete sentences or even make sense. Google, or whichever search engine you’re using, looks for the words, not necessarily the order of the words. Also, fillers like “a” or “the” are unnecessary.)
7. Look for magazines, newspapers and journals related to your search. I often search “flash fiction villanelle horror journal submission” or such like. Not pretty, but it works.
8. Subscribe to relevant websites, blogs, podcasts. Links will be abundant. FOLLOW THE RABBIT.
9. Subscribe to newsletters. Read with an eye for new search terms, especially buzzwords specific to your topic. Our church recently latched onto the term “missional communities.” After a few titillating laughs with Punk, I searched the term and realized it’s a thing. A Christian thing. Who knew?
10. Speaking of knew. NEW. If vague search terms give you blah results, adding the word “new” can occasionally perk things up.
What are you searching for? How can I help you search smarter?