Want to learn how to work a program or application you’ve never used before? You can take a class, ask a friend or colleague, or hire someone to do the work for you. Or, you can LOOK IT UP on the internet, and get hundreds of returns for YouTube videos that will teach you how to use that software.
ITERATIVE SEARCHING allows each of us to become our own greatest resource! The true beauty of the INTERNET is it gives everyone who has access to it, a gateway to a virtually endless source of information. Like a Public Library on steroids, the INTERNET can help us find information, or people we seeks, or teach us almost anything we want to learn, frequently at no cost.
Find a job, a date, a house, a mate. Look up how to spell a word, or what it means, or the latest news, or a good dentist, doggy daycare, or near-by diner, most of us use the internet daily to access information. We usually find what we need quickly because Google understands simple, very specific requests like, “Italian Restaurants in San Francisco.” The search engine will instantly return hundreds of Italian restaurants, with their mapped locations and ratings.
Not quite sure of the right words or phrase to use in the search bar to get what you’re looking for sometimes? We all waste enormous amounts of time trying to articulate what we need into search engines from Google to Bing, to LinkedIn. The ITERATIVE SEARCH process lets us mitigated this time sink by getting us to the specific information we are looking for faster.
To understand how to get the most the relevant returns from your search efforts, first we must understand how search engines work.
Whether typing into the search bar, or speaking directly to Google or Bing, using language the search engines understand is one of the hardest nuts to crack in computing.
Natural Language Process (NLP) is evolving. We now have “Voice Command” software that allows us to make direct requests in almost the way we normally speak. However, these requests are simple, and repeated often: “Call Primo’s pizza.” We still can’t say, “Order the usual from Primo’s,” even though we usually get the same thing from them every time.
Whether using voice command, or typing directly into a search box, it is the function of search engines like Google, or even on-site engines for Amazon or Facebook, to return the most RELEVANT links in response to a query. RELEVANT content means:
The most current, up to date information available.
Search words that match the text and image content on a site.
Most unique hits, or link clicks to the site, meaning a lot of different people clicked on a link to your site, from your advertising campaigns to organic clicks from search engine returns.
Most LINK-BACKS, where your URL, or site address, appears on another site. This could be from interviews, or reviews you’ve done, or Tweets or updates you’ve posted, or blogs, vlogs, or news about you or your company that has a link to one or more of your site addresses.
Search engines, like Google, return the most frequently updated content their spiders find on the internet. Businesses that add, and change the content on their sites frequently, with blogs, vlogs or other marketing tools, will generally be among the first links returned from your search query.
Media, News and entertainment platforms, with a continual stream of new content, and KEYWORDS that are ‘trending’ at that minute, will have the highest ranking, and will likely appear first on the list of links Google returns with each query.
ITERATIVE SEARCH defined is the process of calculating a desired result by repeating the cycle of operations, meaning, doing the same process over and over, iterating— or changing each new query based on the previous search results. Each iteration of our query is refined by the latest search returns, to get us closer and closer to the information we seek, and even unconscious desired knowledge we didn’t start out looking for.
When we are not sure of the search terms to use, or only have a vague idea of what we are looking for, the ITERATIVE SEARCH method will help us identify what we want. We begin by KEYWORD SEARCHING, with words and phrases related to what we’re searching for among the search engine’s collection of websites, documents, media feeds, videos, and additional information.
Known in computing as Depth-First Search, (DFS)— we start at the root, in this case KEYWORDS of our concept, and explore as far as possible along each branch before trying a different search term.
Each search returns pages of links with information the search engine thinks is relevant to our search term. We then correlated these websites, documents, videos and so forth into loose categories. Some groups we discard as irrelevant to our needs. If I’m looking for a veterinarian, using the KEYWORD SEARCH term, “animal doctor,” I don’t need to click on link returns for human doctors, also among my initial list of search results.
Other loose categories apply directly to what I’m looking for, and I gather all those search returns together in usable groupings. I find several websites with promotional videos, along with some documentation, as well as ratings on local veterinarians, though none specialize in tropical birds. I have other groupings of vets that do handle birds, but they are further away.
Each grouping represents sites, documents, videos, with information relevant to my initial KEYWORD SEARCH term, “animal doctor.” I pull KEYWORDS and PHRASES directly from the most relevant initial search RETURNS to construct my next search term, and repeat this process again and again until I find exactly what I want.
Frequently, we only have a vague idea of what we we’re looking for. And sometimes we don’t know what we’re looking for until we see it. ITERATIVE SEARCHING not only helps us find what we want faster, but in offering us many choices, will often guide us to knowledge or decisions we’d not anticipated when beginning our search.
ITERATIVE SEARCHING begins with identifying the key problem, or constructing the question you want to an answer to. We’ll drill down on ITERATIVE SEARCHING to find competitors in the next video. For now, we’re focusing on the steps of the ITERATIVE SEARCH process itself.
First, we must identify the key concepts of what we are searching for, and find the words that will form our first SEARCH TERM.
SEARCH VIDEO CUT: In this example, I’m looking for vacation ideas for our family this summer. I’m not sure to where, yet, but I am restricted by time, budget, family, and other concerns. I begin my search using the words most closely aligned with my KEY CONCEPT, in this case, ‘family vacation,’ is the phrase, or SEARCH TERM I choose as my first ITERATIVE SEARCH.
I type, ‘Family Vacation Ideas,’ into Google’s search bar. It doesn’t matter to Google whether my search term is in all caps, upper and lower case, or all lowercase. Google will return the same results regardless of letter case I use. Google recommends some things I’m not interested in, so I used my broad KEYWORD search term first.
Google returns over 9 million links that, according to Google, have some relevance to ‘Family Vacation Ideas.’ The problem is, Google isn’t only returning relevant links to the word “Vacation.” It’s also returning links to the words “Family” and “Ideas,” which may or may not have any relationship to vacations. To get returns of exactly the search terms you type in, put quotes around the search term, especially with proper names.
I still get this short list of Google’s recommendations, however, as you can see, by simply putting quotes around “Family Vacation” the number of returns is now down 800,000. And these links will be directly related to “Family Vacations.”
BACK TO SLIDE: I’ve perform my initial KEYWORD SEARCH, with the most relevant words and phrases to my concept, in this case, my desire to create a summer vacation for my family.
BACK TO VIDEO: Google returns links to what it considers the most relevant websites, documents, news, videos and information on the internet regarding “Family Vacations.”
While 800,000 links are still way too many to view, on the very first page of returns I see site titles and descriptions that interest me. I look at their URLs next. It is VERY IMPORTANT to note where the link takes you— to what website or landing page. Titles are often misleading, a trick marketers, and evil hackers use to ‘fool’ Google’s algorithms into serving up crap. CHECK THE URL— the web address the link takes you to BEFORE CLICKING on it! If you’ve never heard of the site, or the dot extension is not familiar, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK!
Always, always, always have a FIREWALL and SECURITY SOFTWARE, like Norton Utility, on your networks and computers AT ALL TIMES. It is worth the monetary investment to have the security, than lose everything on your device, or networked devices, with one bad click.
BACK TO SLIDE: I scan my search results, noting the titles and descriptions to see if Google has returned anything I’m interested in.
BACK TO VIDEO: I know from my security software that most of these site links are likely safe for me to look at. NUMBERS attract attention quickly, and these titles attracts mine, but reading their descriptions, I’m not interested in the vacation destinations, so I continue scrolling.
We’d already taken our kids from Disney theme parks to National parks across the nation. I’m not sure where I want to take our family, but I know it’s not what I’m seeing here. I continue to scroll through the first 3 pages of returns before moving on with another search term. It’s important to drill down to, at least, the first 3 pages of returns before moving on with another search term. What you think is relevant, Google may not. They may have buried the information you seek several pages down.
As I scroll the pages of links, I consider other places on the planet our kid’s haven’t seen. Europe would be interesting, with our kids now in their teens.
BACK TO SLIDE: I REVISE and iterate my SEARCH TERM. And search again.
I input “European Family Vacations,” into Google’s search. By naming a specific destination, I’ve narrow the returns down to 22,500 online sites with information relating to family vacations in Europe.
I scroll through the list of link returns, and for one reason or another, don’t find any links I want to click on, but certain words pop out at me, like London, and Rome. I go to the next page, and the next, without seeing anything of interest. But I’m enticed by countries like England, and Italy. Again, I stay on this search term for 3 full pages, scanning quickly to see if any more link titles or descriptions pop out at me with intriguing suggestions.
BACK TO SLIDE: I revise my search term, and search again.
BACK TO VIDEO: I type “Family Vacation Italy with Teens,” putting the entire phrase in quotes to limit the returns to my exact SEARCH TERM. I get over 3 million returns. As with most search engines, Google can’t handle more than a few exact word matches. In fact, it offers no recommendations, at all. Unfortunately, the search engine could not handle the exact request of 5 quoted words strung together in an unfamiliar pattern, and has only returned a list of results with my quotes taken off.
Though the search engine could not find an exact match, many sites exist that I would have found of interest, and still may be found with a different search term.
In 1.13 second Google’s spiders crawled the internet and returned over 3 million results of material related to family and/or vacation and/or Italy, and/or teens. And this long list of returns may or may not have anything to do with family vacations in Italy with teens.
I have no desire to waste my time sifting through such a broad, and long list of results. So, I narrow my quotes to just a few KEYWORDS. The SEARCH TERM “family vacations italy” with teens, yields fewer results, but on the first pass none seem related to families with teens. I reorient my quotes to just “family vacations” italy with teens, and finally get my desired results of websites, documents, videos, news, and reviews all directly related to family vacations in Italy, and many are for, or from families with teens.
With each search iteration I get closer and closer to the information I want, enabling me to make an informed decision about planning our summer vacation for Italy this year. I’ll use the same ITERATIVE SEARCH process to plan, and pay for the trip by researching what parents say through trusted parenting sites, then look for special airfare deals and family packages at recommended, and highly rated hotels.
I’ll begin by first identifying what it is I want to know, then perform my initial search without quotes, to get the broadest cross-section of returns. If I don’t find what I need within 3 pages of results, I’ll refine my search term, again and again, until I narrow down the return results to exactly the information I desire.
Instead of wasting thousands of dollars hiring a travel agent, who may or may not create the vacation I envision, using the ITERATIVE SEARCH method, I am empowered to securely plan and execute a summer vacation to Italy for my family, all from my office in San Francisco.
You can use the ITERATIVE SEARCH method to find virtually any desired information. Follow the simple steps in this video, IN ORDER, and apply these basic rules to get answers to your queries on almost any subject more efficiently, when using the ITERATIVE SEARCH process with every search effort.
PREVIEW SLIDE competition
Most of us think our ideas are great, and unique to us, as if we are the first to conceive the notion. But this is fiction. The light bulb was developed by many others, way before Thomas Edison commercialized it. Apple’s first personal computer was developed after Steve Jobs saw a similar prototype created by Xerox Parc engineers.
Learn how to find direct, and indirect competition for your offering, then identify, and even create differentiators that make your idea unique, great, and better than your competitors. Video 10_COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS is next.