Google is so ubiquitous now that people don’t pay a second thought about how it works and why Google gives such great search results—which is a shame, because knowing how Google works can help you understand why it can be a good tool for brainstorming ideas.
In short, Google works from an algorithm called PageRank that determines a website’s usefulness by seeing how many other people or websites link to a specific website. This means Google works by people essentially voting on which website is best via the links they include to other websites. The underlying assumption is that people link to a website if it’s useful, so lots of people linking to a site is an indicator of the site’s usefulness.
So each Google search is basically a free focus group that has already done the hard work of screening out bad ideas—leaving you only with the good ideas relevant to your topic.
The only thing you need to do to unlock your free Google focus group is to use the right keywords to ask Google—and thereby yield the best results to help generate quality ideas for your goals.
This can be done with the 5W questions (“who, what, when, where and why”—plus “how”) as a basic starting point to search for as keywords. However, you should not limit yourself to only these keywords and spend the time thinking about what keywords are relevant for your brainstorming session.
Suppose that you are trying to brainstorm relevant ideas for how to create and manage a website for your small business, and you have no idea what the important factors are when running a website. A perfect keyword to start with in this case is “important” along with “website.”
Now that you’ve got these two keywords, you can pair them with Google’s autocomplete tool.