Sometimes today we take it for granted just how easy it is to search Google and find something online.

Want to order a pizza? Boom. The closest pizza place to your location, their website, and phone number. Easy.

However, it wasn’t always like this. For those of us old enough to remember the early days of home internet (read pre-Google), we conjure up images of Altavista, Compuserve and Ask Jeeves.

Google changed the game when it came to search engines, and what they did was so brilliant that 20 years later, not only do they have total domination of the industry, but we now use their name as a verb.

If you don’t believe us, Google it.

The challenge facing new businesses

Searching for a pizza is fine, but what if your business provides a service that’s a little more ambiguous?

That’s the challenge facing modern business and Google today. Subjects which are difficult to categorise can fall behind when it comes to search results, and it’s a problem.

Let’s just say for example you start a business helping people develop their own start-ups. What do people search for to find you? Business coach? Mentor? Advisor? Or do they type a question into Google; “How can I grow my business?” or “I need help with my business”.

It can be difficult knowing what people are searching for, and therefore what to advertise yourself as. If you’ve styled yourself as a “business guru”, and your rival is a “business coach”, which one of you is getting more clicks?

It all depends on what people are searching for in the first place.

Tools to help

We’ve found a great website to help with this problem. is a simple way to capture people’s intent when they search for something. It’s like your own market research campaign but is totally free!

It works in two simple steps. First, you create a scenario for a search query (the problem). Second step, you give this scenario to people and record their responses (the solution).

So, for example, let’s say you’re opening a Yoga/Pilates class in Grey Lynn in Auckland. What exactly would people type into Google to find you? There are plenty of options to choose from – Grey Lynn yoga, Pilates class Auckland, yoga class NZ – but which is the most common search query for your unique business?

Well, you start by creating the scenario: “You feel like trying out yoga or pilates – what would you search for?” and sending it out to people through social media, email, newsletters, etc:

And then as they answer the question, you see what they would type into Google:

It’s a simple as that. A fast, effective, and free tool to help uncover which search terms people are using. There are of course other ways to do this, but for a quick, inexpensive way to check your particular business area, it’s a great place to start.