SEO: Help! I can’t find what I want on Google search.

The truth? As much as SEO (search engine optimization) services promise results, and as pretty a picture of online business success is painted, most businesses find it’s not easy getting found in a search. First of all it takes one to three months to actually grow your links and to populate within all of Google’s algorithms, and even then it seems more than ever the big payers and players always come out ahead.

Here’s an example of a recent search I tried that was current, possesed broad appeal and had big enough national names that I thought, “Surely, this search will be easy”.

I’d heard a good segment on NPR. It was about running and its’ restorative powers.
It had only been a couple of days and I wanted to send the article to a runner-friend.

Since it had been so recent and on such a well known news outlet with good online presence, this one was going to be easy to find, right?

Attempt Number One:
SEARCH: “running and age NPR”

Surely my search would give me the most current and recent entries. They would be authoritative sources with objective, proven, trusted and honest content, and not dubious, popular clickbait sources.

Boy, was I wrong.
Instead of my easy-find article, I got two-year-old running and age studies.
I got radically irrelevant results too:
1) about the 2012 Presidential Campaigns (running)
2) and about the death of Tom Magliozzi, one of the host brothers of NPR’s CarTalk. (NPR, age)

And this strange oddity:
How Do I Hate NPR? Let Me Count the Ways | Miscellany …
“Last year, when NPR was running a long, long, long series of stories on local … one morning on a topless dancer suing a Dallas club for age discrimination.”

So much for Google’s authoritative, context-based approach.
I searched five pages in and and started anew.

Attempt Number Two:
I tried something more specific:
SEARCH: “running prevents aging study NPR 2015″

I hoped this would more clearly describe exactly what I was looking for. But no. Instead, I got entries as old as 2006 on the first page. Again, I searched five pages in and and I gave up.

Attempts Number Three and Four:
SEARCH: “_________”

I just started to hunt for the needle in a haystack.
Guessing, I went straight to NPR’s Morning Edition site. Nothing.
I guessed at another public radio show, Here and Now and finally found it there with a link to Colorado Public Radio, the originator of the story.

So, search is hard. As much as Google promises, it’s not perfect.  It’s just far too global a network and it can take a lot of ingenuity on the part of the user to be successful, even with items that seem like they should be easy to find.

There are some strategies a local business can use to their advantage to bypass some of the noise of Google searches that we’ll discuss in a future post.

Have you ever had a search leave you frustrated? Leave a comment!

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