The site was ranked #2 and approximately #6 in the website name search and local keyword search respectively on Google.

should there be "the" before "website name search"? or should it "a'? or neither?

  • 1
    I wonder what "approximately #6" means... Jan 22, 2021 at 10:50
  • the site was definitely ranked #2 in the website name search, but I can't accurately recall the result of keyword search, it was between 6~8, that's why I said approximately. Is it in correct usage of "approximately"? Jan 22, 2021 at 11:29
  • The word approximately is absolutely fine in this context.
    – mdewey
    Jan 22, 2021 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


Yes, use the in this sentence.

The sentence is referencing a particular search engine -- Google, and so it is Google's website name search. It is a particular, definite search engine.

If the search engine did not matter, the sentence would be:

The site was ranked #2 and approximately #6 in a website name search and local keyword search respectively.

From the OWL, always a good site for grammar:

The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns


The Stack Exchange

As it is a name of a specific website, we'd use "the".

"A" means one of many, so is not typically used in proper nouns (names).

  • 1
    In what way would using 'a' involve proper nouns?
    – rcook
    Jan 22, 2021 at 10:59
  • There does not seem to be any mention of proper nouns in the question. Can you edit to clarify how you see this as helping the OP?
    – mdewey
    Jan 22, 2021 at 12:41

It should probably be 'a'; by using 'the', the writer implies that 'website name search' is something that is used repeatedly in some formal fashion.

If there were a standard set of searches done by some agency, something akin to a political poll, and it did something called a "website name search" as part of its standard, then it would be appropriate to refer to that specific noun with 'the' because it would be referring to a formal thing that was repeated. The formality is less important to the word choice than the repeatability.

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