Syntax – Natural Language

The most frequent mistake searchers make is to search on only one or two words. Search engines are fairly good at bringing up the major sites on broad topics such as Canadian law or French cuisine, but to find something specific, you need more words. Often entering our query with several words and using natural phrasing will get better results.

Natural language queries are queries in plain English. Are you looking for resorts in Bermuda? Enter the question naturally budget resorts in Bermuda. Typically, the search engine will ignore the common words – in; likely look for singular and plural and for word variants; sometimes make sense of the query – most search engines would recognize this as travel related; and then rank the results according to the relevancy formula.

Because search engines will rank results according to the order and proximity of words, it makes sense to enter them in a natural order. The query most poisonous snake gets slightly better results than snake poisonous. The answer format will help too, such as longest river in the world is.

The search engines vary in their capabilities, but all will respond reasonably well to more words.

Natural Language

Go to Google and ask it a couple of questions. There will likely be some very good leads in the first 10 results.

  1. first woman to climb Mount Everest
  2. budget accommodation in Paris
  3. convert gallons to cubic meters
  4. grey owl’s real name

Check your search construction against the syntax answer page.


Work with phrases.