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Maximize keyword search in online dating
If you have experience with online dating, you know what questions are asked when you sign up and how searches are typically set up to happen. You fill in boxes that say looking for male or female, your zip code, your geographic limits for matches--and then fill in a lot of short answers to questions about your height, weight, eye and hair color, marital status, want kids or not, interests, hobbies, income range, etc. Then there is the tag line and essay, all of which can be a lot of reading for would be daters. Even with all this information given, the list of potential matches is often driven primarily by age, geographic area and sexual preference. That leaves a lot of (often mind numbing) profiles to sort through in order to find compatible people.
So, how do can you shorten the time it takes to find potential keepers and (hopefully) not miss anyone interesting and potentially right for you? Think keywords--which we all know good searches are driven by. Sites are ranked on how well their content links to the keywords people use to find information- and ones that offer a lot of other not pertinent stuff are penalized. So why not use this approach to narrow down the pool of people who have the most in common with you and best meet the criteria you are looking for? By doing so, you will be able to keep up with any interesting new listings and not be rushed in your initial contacts and/or follow-up emails.
Begin by choosing sites like Match that offer a custom search function. They will all ask the short answers, but will include a box for keywords. Here is where you want to be very creative and specific. Some things to consider as you come up with you best keywords are:
What top qualities are you looking for in potential dates?
What must you have in any future relationship?
What are your passions and level of need to find someone who shares/supports them?
What critical lifestyle issues or concerns you may have, if any?
Breaking these down into keywords is the next step. Using the short list above (please add to it), the following are some examples of keywords that may apply:
Well educated and intellectual, spirituality a priority, hard working and financially secure, must lean politically left/right, loves children, seeking marriage, passionate about music, loves to travel, enjoys quiet time at home, outgoing and extroverted, must love animals, or vegetarian/vegan.
From this brief sample, you can see that being specific in different areas will help to find and rule out profiles that you would have to spend a lot of time going through to determine that the person doesn't line up well with you.
Spend some time thinking your keyword choices through, then go to the site and experiment with the advanced search function. Keep refining until the list of potential matches that comes up looks promising. You can do this as often as you like--and hopefully over time you will have a higher rate of promising responses that lead to positive first impressions upon meeting and second dates.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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