As a blogger, search is very important to you for a number of reasons, only one of which is the ranking and placement of your blog in search results. You need to know how to use search to find what you want like an expert. You will be able to research blog material in a shorter time and get accurate information for blogging quickly and efficiently if you know what you’re doing in the Google search box. It’s in your best interests to be able to search like an expert on Google.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Leave out articles and joining words like the, and, if, for, a, to, on, and so forth. These don’t matter to Google, and it will ignore them, anyway.
Keywords or Key Phrases?
If you do a search for bearded iris, you’ll certainly get plenty of result for bearded irises. However, soon your results will be for bearded and iris separately, which is irrelevant. Google is smart enough to know that more than one word in the searchbox should likely be treated as a search phrase, but not exclusively. To make sure your phrase is the exact and only thing searched for, group words together with quotes, like this: “bearded iris”. If what you wanted to know were planting times for bearded iris bulbs, you could search for “bearded iris” bulbs “planting time”. Notice how the word bulbs isn’t in quotes. Google will associate that word with the phrases in quotes and return fewer (thus more relevant) results.
Google Search Operators
One of the best ways to search like an expert on Google is to know Google’s search operators. A search operator is a command word you place in front of your search keywords to define your search according to a very specific focus. Search operators are followed by a colon “:” and a keyword with no spaces between the colon and the keyword. Now, to give credit where it’s due, the following are from the very helpful Google Guide website. This list isn’t exhaustive–I’ve pared it down to search operators useful to bloggers doing keyword research and SEO-related searches:
Searching with allinanchor: will find keywords which follow in the anchor text in links (in HTML, an anchor is the technical term for a hyperlink). For example,
allinanchor:make money bloggingwill find pages with links which have any of these three words in the anchor text.
Allintext: finds keywords in the body text only. So:
allintext:better bloggingwould look for “better” and “blogging” together in site page text.
Allintitle: finds search words only in the title tags of web pages. Title tag content is one of the most important factors Google considers when determining if a site is a good match for a search term. A possible example might be:
allintitle:how to blogWhen you’re using special operators like this, you may include articles and linking words and they won’t be excised from your search results.
Allinurl: searches only for your search terms in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator–a website’s address, like http://www.remarkablogger.com). URL text is not terribly important for search, but it is important for how AdSense decides what ads to show if you are monetizing your blog with that program. For example:
allinurl:amazing ps3 playsIf you’ve been actually trying my examples, as of this posting you’ll only get one result for this one, and it’s pretty funny.
Inanchor: needs be used with a word in front of it. It’s used to find anchor text on pages linked to from a page containing the first term. For example:
affiliate programs inanchor:bloggingThis will show you pages that contain the words affiliate and programs that are linked to from links with the the word blogging in the anchor text.
Link: will show all the pages that link to site. You need to enter a URL after the operator, so:
link:www.remarkablogger.comshows all the sites that link to me.
Site: allows you to search within a single site or top-level domain. To search within a single site, simply enter your search terms and put the site’s URL after the operator, like this:
seven keys site:www.remarkablogger.comTo search within a top-level domain for a search term, use it like this:
top secret site:milHmm… maybe you shouldn’t try that one!
Use Advanced Search Options
The above operators are basically shortcuts to using Advanced Search options, which can be tedious to work through, but very effective. The link to advanced options is to the right of the search box.
Use the Right Search for the Job
Google now includes some results from the other search types when you use the normal Google search, but make sure you use the right search for the job. If you’re looking for items that have appeared in the news recently, then search Google News. If you want to find something only in blogs, use Google’s Blog Search.
Search Without Sponsored Results or Ads
Did you know you can search Google without displaying any ads in the results? Here is the URL: http://www.google.com/search?output=googleabout. Bookmark that one!
Now You Can Search Like an Expert
A coworker today asked me how I knew so much about stuff and I told her that a lot of it was knowing how to find the information I wanted online. Whenever I want to know anything, my first stop is a Google search. I maximize my search effectiveness by employing the tips and techniques above, and you can too. Happy searching!