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Last updated on April 29, 2016 | by Aet Suvari


How to get the most out of searching on

One of the best things about are the powerful search options that help you hone in on what’s important. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of searching on…

Why search matters is one of the world’s biggest dating sites but that doesn’t mean you’re likely to stumble on your perfect match right away. In fact, it’s quite unlikely you’ll be so lucky because let’s face it – while the person (or persons) you’re looking for is probably there among its thousands of users, finding him/her won’t be as easy and straightforward as it might initially seem.

Luckily has made the whole search process easier for you by giving you loads of options to fine-tune your search down to the minutest of details, so that you can be sure that none of those great matches ever slip through the holes in the net.

So, let’s take a look at what you can do to make it easier for you and to get the best out of searching on…

First things first – Age

First of all lets take a look at the search page. There are several little tabs with search credentials – location, looks, personal life, work life, smoking, background, imperfections, values and spare time.

Searching on criteria

Of course you could go through them all one by one and tick your boxes and mark your preferences but unless you live in a huge city (London) you’re not likely to get very many results this way. Why don’t you approach it by taking a wider look at what Match has to offer at first?

Finding someone perfect would be great but if the computer and algorithms do the whole job for you, where’s the fun in that? You want to look around, get a feel for who’s around – above all else you want to have a choice. Your best approach would be to choose the most important credentials – age and location – and take it from there.

Again, when it comes to age (under the Looks category), it’s best not to be too restrictive. Widen your choice to make it at least 5 years between what your ideal match might be. Or why not follow the half your age plus seven rule to stretch your range even further.

Location, location, location

With location it’s a little more complicated. Of course you don’t want someone who lives super far away but your ideal distance very much depends on where you live. 20 miles in London is completely different than 20 miles in Aberystwyth. At the same time, in London or Glasgow you’re much likelier to find lots of choice within a 5 mile radius than it is in the Cotswolds or Killiecrankie. Think how far you would be prepared to travel for a date – but stay realistic too. In a small town it pays to widen the area a little to include neighbouring towns and villages or perhaps even the next big town in the vicinity.

Once you’ve made your first choice, perform the search and see how many results you get. That will be a great indicator as to whether you have further room for nitpicking. Of course, you can also limit your search to only members who have a photo too. If you have several hundred results you can easily go back to the search categories and narrow it down some more. Or you could start looking through the search profiles – because, let’s face it, that’s half of the fun in online dating! It’s like window-shopping and no one’s even judging you for it!

If your results come back at around a hundred or less, you might not want to narrow it further as you might cut out some matches you wouldn’t necessarily initially think of but who still might be great for you. A perfect match on the paper is not the same as a perfect match in real life. We recommend taking a look at your matches first and seeing if someone catches your eye. You can always cut down later on!

Now, about cutting down, let’s take a look at the choices you have. Of course, the looks. Let’s not pretend it isn’t important. Height and weight are sort of obvious categories but again we encourage you not to be too restrictive. A few inches or pounds here or there really doesn’t mean that much if the person is otherwise completely suitable, do they? Hair and eye colour even less so. But if you have dreamt of a blue-eyed blonde prince(ss) for all your life, then it’s good to know you have that choice!

The Big Stuff

Another important category, which we actually encourage you to use is Personal Life. What you’ll find under there are things concerning the relationship status (never married, divorced, separated, widowed) and children. If it’s important to you that your date hasn’t been previously married or that (s)he doesn’t have children, it’s best to get that sorted in the beginning to avoid disappointments later on. There are things we can do about our weight or hair colour but you can’t erase your past or get rid of your children.

This is also a category that can make online dating so much more useful than traditional dating. If starting a family at some point is really important to you then you have the amazing ability to rule out anyone who’s already decided they don’t want to have children. Or you can specifically search only for those who definitely do want to have children. How easy would that be on a night out among a bar full of strangers?!

The 9 to 5 and Staying Alive

Work life is another interesting category. Under that you’ll also find education, which is more important than you might think. It kind of makes sense that members with a PhD or Masters might look for someone with a similar educational background – and vice versa. There’s nothing prejudicial about that, it’s just that people with a similar education tend to also have more similar interests, beliefs, values and experiences.

Income on the other hand is something we wouldn’t recommend as a measurement of a great match. Some people don’t put their real income in their profile on an online dating site in the first place – and even if they did, how would you feel if you missed the chance to meet the love of your life because (s)he earned 5k less in a year than you would prefer?

Smoking is again a no-brainer and we’re all for people using this to filter out unsuitable matches. Smokers and non-smokers don’t often make happy couples although if you feel like you don’t really care either way – all the better for you! Especially if you’re a non-smoker yourself. Who knows, your positive example might just turn your match around too!

Background & Imperfections

Background category is a tricky one. We’ve all read that some races get discriminated against online and that quite often people of similar ethnic backgrounds rule out other ethnicities. It’s not for us to start a discussion on the ins and outs of dating and race – after all, online dating search categories are meant for you to look for people that you think you might like in real life.

But we can say for sure that an open mind will often take you much further so we urge you to date out of your comfort zones as well.

The imperfections category is an interesting one but it tends to be quite restrictive as you can only mark the habits/imperfections that you’re attracted to. You’ll probably get some interesting results with it but perhaps not the widest of choices.

The Huge Value of Values

Values. This truly is an important category and just like the Personal Life category we suggest you make ysome choices here if things like religion, views on marriage and children matter to you. There’s no point jerking people around if you absolutely aren’t interested in marriage and children and they are. Little good can come of it.

Play and Last Online

Spare Time category includes things like interests, music taste, sports and films – again, use your common sense here when picking and choosing. Some things are important in a partner, some things really aren’t and it’s up to you to decide whether it would be a dealbreaker for you if (s)he liked action movies when you’re more of a romantic comedy freak.

And finally, under the category More Criteria you can search for a specific person by his/her username and also tick a box if your search should only include people who have recently logged in – the latter comes especially handy if you’ve been using the site for a while and you want to find newer members.

So, as you can see the ways of finding a suitable match really are incredibly varied on While there are countless different criteria for you to try out don’t forget that you are there to enjoy the whole process as well. Don’t view it like making an important financial decision where you really have to carefully read the small print as well – instead, have fun with it. Online dating really doesn’t differ that much from real dating in the end – compatibility and chemistry are always the final barometer and you can never be sure of those until you’ve spent some quality time with that person.

Good luck and I hope you’ve found some of these tips make your searching on that bit easier.

About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+

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