The most important aspect of searching any database is the ability to leverage keywords to find the results you want to see. 

First, take the time to make a list of all the keywords relevant to your product or service, your industry, the type of agency you might wish to target, or even a location area you want to keep your business in. 

Once you’ve listed out your keywords take a look at them. How specific are they? Are you using any words that, to you, sound very targeted, but could have an alternate meaning which would create unrelated results? You’ll want to reconsider these words. Do you need them, and if so, can you find a way to make them more specific.   

For example, a GovSpend user who sells printers may want to use the phrase “wide-format”. This is a generally vague term that can be applied to many different products and industries. Among reconsideration, it can be determined that adding to the phrase and making it “wide format plotter” or “wide format printer” is much more targeted. 

However, with this in mind, you also don’t want to go too far and make a keyword or phrase too specific, because you could end up excluding relevant results. For example, what if that same user who sells printers wants to use “HP wide-format printer”? The search will only look for data with “HP” in it. If someone left out that particular descriptor or didn’t use that brand, then you’ll miss out on relevant results. 

After you have developed your keywords and made them as targeted as possible, take the time to skim through your results. Do you see anything that might not belong? This is your opportunity to take advantage of our negative keywords tool. Look for specific words that you do not want to see in your results and use them as negative keywords to eliminate anything of irrelevance from your search. If your negative keyword is a phrase, you may need to set it with “0 words in between”. Do this by clicking on the keyword in the box and select “words in between” from the drop-down menu. 

Be Aware: any data with your negative keywords words located on a bid or purchase order will be excluded from your results.

When you conduct your first search in either bids or spending, really focus on getting your keywords right. Making sure you have robust searches with limited noise is the key to success when searching bids or spending. Once you get your keywords right, you shouldn’t have to tweak your searches too much. You’ll be able to simply use the data coming to you.