Writing powerful queries is kind of like making a cake.

Queries are like cakes.

This is part one of a series on the steps to writing Super Search Strings.

A cake is not altogether that difficult to make. It requires following some methodical steps in a certain order.

Overall it is pretty easy.
But… If you were to place all the ingredients to make a cake on a table and then you told a child to make a cake. Without any other instructions, it would be very unlikely that the child would be able to make a cake.

More than likely he would just make a mess.

Having said this, I would like to say that good searches don’t start with the query, just like making a cake doesn’t start with the icing. Also, if you miss either a step in the recipe or an ingredient, it will likely not work out too well either.

Most cakes contain eggs, milk, sugar and flour….but as in every recipe; you can alter the cake (the final product) by altering the amounts of elements contained in your mix.  If you want a sweeter cake, you add more sugar. You want it a little fluffier, beat the butter and sugar longer.

The ingredients

It’s the same with search strings. The search string “ingredients” are the basic components found in all queries. 

  • keywords
  • Boolean operators
  • Modifiers (Double quotations marks / Parenthesis / wildcards)

“The secret of search string crafting is to get the balance right.”

Just like making a cake you need the correct quantities of dry material to wet. The right amount of heat and the right amount of time. Too many keywords or not enough make for irrelevant results, not enough Boolean operators and nothing seems to happen. But a balanced mix of the two creates perfect results.

Bear in mind that the search writing  process is about directing the work of algorithms make your database or search engine work. Left up to its algorithms, the database just runs the keywords together and spits out whatever happens to be around. Mixing the right ingredients correctly and you ultimately create something delicious. 

The search strings can be altered by changing up the ingredients in your mix. By blending the mix ingredients your end product will vary just like the recipe for a cake.

The query “mix” is a good place to start when you are thinking through your search string to introduce a new keywords or Boolean Operators. There are some key and traditional elements that should be used to ensure success but the “mix” of these ingredients can and will vary depending on the skills that you are search ing for and what you want your final outcome to be.  A little of this and pinch of that and voila!

In order to achieve your marketing objectives you need to have a strategy that includes all the different elements.  Thinking of it as a mix will help you achieve the right balance between all the elements in order to create and produce the perfect recipe for search success.

Now it’s your turn …

Here’s what to do next:

Let me know in the comments what you thought. Also let me know about what how you decide to put your search strings together.