Let’s Talk about Search and How to Do it Better!
Don’t you wish your brand was so awesome that everyone would replace an action with your brand name? When was the last time that you looked something up online? When you did so, did you think… oh, I am going to search in the browser or on the search engine? Yea, not! You probably said or thought… I need to “Google” this. Awesome! Anyways, my point isn’t on marketing your brand, though that is a great topic, but more so on how to search, or “Google” something to get the best results.
How do you currently search?
When you first started doing searches, in whichever search engine, it probably started pretty vague, right? Then, you learned how to search better, or how to enter your terms better in the search engines to get the answers you wanted. If you haven’t quite figured it out, I’m here to help! I’m going to show you a few tips on “how to search” and get what you want.
There are several ways in which to search for them and when you do so, you will get a different result so keep these things in mind, whether you are looking for something specific or still trying to figure out what you want. After all, we don’t always know how to find what we are thinking in our head – or is that just me? LOL
- Site search – looking for only information about a website, you can search using – site:visualbusiness.com
- Actually a cool thing to do, which I recommend, is to do this for your site anyways, so you can see where you are listed – citations, or business listings are great for your business and SEO.
- Super Ninja tip – do this on your competitors too! 😉
- If you are looking for something ON a site and they don’t have an internal search function on their site, you can use this too – ie. twitter site:kimgarst.com and up will come all of Kim’s content (mostly blogs) about Twitter. Give it a try.
- One more, if you know the site is a type of site, but not sure of the domain name and know what you want you can find out more info. For example, I want a government site that has how to get a driver’s license, I can use drivers license:gov. After doing that I noticed I was getting some for other states. So I adjusted it to local with drivers license Houston texas:gov or could have used drivers license location:Houston texas:gov.
- Recent Search – looking for a blog or information that is more recent – once you have your keyword phrase in the search box, click on the Search Tools and you can sort by Any time, Past Hour, Past Week, Past Year & Custom range.
- Keep in mind, if you are looking for news, you can always click on News versus a Web Search and get more newsworthy information. If you do that, you can also select Blogs versus All news too!
- Image Search – surely most folks are aware that if you are specifically doing a search for images, when typing in a query under Web, you can switch over to Images (or even Videos) to get only images for that keyword phrase.
- Negative Query – Obviously you have come across searches that contain things you don’t want, but if you can pin point a piece that you can remove from the equation, would that be better? Use the (-) minus sign in front of a word you want to exclude.
- For example, if you were looking for gyms near me and all you keep finding are those cross fit gyms and that wasn’t your thing, try gyms near me –crossfit –xfit and you won’t see those crossfit gyms pop up. I added xfit, just in case, but you don’t have to do both.
- Exact phrase – it does get irritating when you type a keyword phrase in a search and you don’t get what you want, or you have to dig for it. So, in this case put quotes around it.
- There is a shooting league I am apart of called A Girl and A Gun and if I don’t know their website (I’d be an idiot because it IS AGirlandAGun.org pretty simple right?) then try “A Girl and A Gun” and the results would return only websites with that phrase IN THAT ORDER.
- Now I noticed that there were movies in there so I could try again with “A Girl and A Gun” -movie and it would take out all of the movie references.
- Little tip, no space between the minus and the word you want to exclude.
- Related search – hopefully you are aware of those relates search terms at the bottom of your search engine results page, as this can be quite handy.
- Another trick is if you have a website in mind, but want to find sites LIKE it.. try related:socialmediaexaminer.com and you will find other sites, similar to that of Social Media Examiner, like Mashable, Social Media Explorer, Jeff Bullas, etc. Pretty cool, huh?
- Location – Usually, if you are logged into Google+/Gmail and are using Google to do a search, it will use your location automatically when searching.
- You can check you location by clicking on Search Tools then whether it has your location, Use my location, Enter location or Auto-detected to see how your settings are.
- What if you are in one city and looking for something in a specific city, then just add the city after it – gym Houston or you can try gym location:Houston. These will give you two similar, yet different results. The first will likely include map pages and websites with the keywords gym AND Houston in it, whereas the second is pulling gyms that are IN Houston and may not have the term Houston in the url, heading, content, etc, because the key terms are slightly different.
- Fill in the Blank * – if you know something about what you are searching for but can’t name it… you can use a * as a wildcard. It, the *, is used in place of a word, that you can’t remember. Crazy that I can’t think of an example at this moment, but you get the idea.
- Numbers – looking for prices of something or something with numbers within it, you can do a search and put in your price range, or number range.
- Just for fun, I did a search for a Jeep for sale, in a price range, near me. Then I found too many 2015’s came up so I revised my search for used and not 2015 – jeep renegade for sale location:Houston $15000..25000 -2015 used. I got quite a few options. The key with number ranges is to include two periods in between the numbers to get results within that range.
- Either Or – when you want to find a website that has both words, you include them both, if you want to find a site that has one or another keyword, like years or makes of a Jeep, for example, you would use OR (both letters capitalized).
- That search up in the numbers with the Jeep returned at least one Jeep Liberty as well, so if I wanted to see either a Jeep Liberty or a Jeep Renegade I might refine my search to Jeep Renegade OR Jeep Liberty. Each result should have one or the other. Now, you may see a mix of the 10 organic results, some Renegade and some Liberty, but that one result will only have one or the other. Hope that makes sense.
This has been fun and should give you an example of many different ways you can do searches but this should also give you an idea on what search engines want, and how searchers can fine tune their searches for what may be on your website. Content is King and if you don’t have words on each and every one of your website pages, search engines will just have a hard time finding all of these terms.
Please let me know if I can help you with your content on your website or optimizing your content for maximum search engine results.