I often talk to clients who struggle to find what they want on Google. They’re getting results from another country, not quite what they wanted or something completely unrelated to what they’re searching for.
Use the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid)
People tend to search with either too few words, the wrong words or irrelevant words. If you’re re-decorating your home, typing in “decorators” might find you what you’re looking for. If you need a painter and it comes up with some, then great! But it might also show you interiors decorators, cake decorators, programming advice and event managers! These were all real results on the first page of a search I did today.
Typing in some “really good decorators that aren’t too expensive” showed me more results I didn’t want. The problem was that most of my keywords in that search were too ambiguous.
Be specific when you search for your painter!
If you live in Auckland and you’re looking for a painter, search for “Painters Auckland“. If you’re in a particular location like Whangarei, search for “Whangarei Painters“. If you want your roof painted, try searching for “Auckland Roof Painters”.
Set your location
A little while ago, Google updated their search page to include a location setting. Not everyone will be able to see it but it normally appears in the left column. The default value in NZ is “Auckland” and it always surprises me how many people in other locations haven’t changed it yet. Update it to your home town and you’ll get better results. If it doesn’t appear there, you can also click on the “gear” icon in the top right corner. Click on “search settings” and change it in there.
Search for pages in your country
Many people are using Google.com instead of Google.co.nz and don’t realise that they are getting more overseas results. Click on “pages from New Zealand” to display more local information.
Need up to date information?
If you need to find out about something that happened recently, you can click on “more search tools” in the left column of Google to display only results from the last hour, day, week, month or year. You can also set your own custom dates. I did this after the second Christchurch earthquake to find recent news results for the Feb 2011 quake rather than old news about the Sept 2010 quake.
Other Google search types
Sometimes you might be looking for a picture or a video of something. Google will allow you to search just for Images, Videos, News, Books, Places, Blogs, Discussions or Patents! Going back to our decorating analogy, if you wanted to save money on your painting work, you might search for a video on “How to remove wallpaper”.
Searching on Google doesn’t have to be hard work, just be specific and use keywords closely related to what you want. Happy searching!