Posts tagged ‘special search’

March 12, 2011

How To Use Google To Search

Which search to use?

Google search

Which search to use?

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? It isn’t. As a start, consider these three search options of which I wasn’t aware.

Then there is the basic bread-and-butter of searches. I found the choice of search topic quite ironic.

How to use Google 2.0 universal search, the 2008 edition

universal search

Google 2.0 Universal Search

This detailed guide maintained by Google describing the meaning of each item returned on search results pages is a good resource.

Then there are the infrequently used special search commands. I wrote a detailed post on these Google special searches a few weeks ago.

See too the Google resource page of help documents to learn how to search.

Inspired by How To Use Google To Search.

February 1, 2011

YouTube Video Scavenger Hunt

YouTube – Broadcast Yourself included a hyper-linked line of text at the bottom of my search results today. It read something along the lines of “Discover video treasures on YouTube”.

What could be described in such glowing terms amongst the mess of poor quality content, or poor quality recordings of high quality content, that constitutes much of YouTube? “Video treasures” evokes the phrase “national treasure” which is such a contrast to the petabytes and exabytes of inane user comments attached to most videos, regardless of the associated video’s (sometimes worthwhile) content. Well, I clicked and saw a page with the heading,

YouTube Topics on Search Beta

and the following announcement:

YouTube Topics is a new way to explore the worlds of videos on YouTube. After you opt in, when you search for something (“funny” for example) you will see topics related to your current search displayed at the top of search results and next to individual videos. You can click on these topics to switch to that topic on search.

You can also add a topic to your current search by clicking on the  + sign that shows when you hover over it. Each new topic you click will give you new results to explore.  Here’s a query to start with, so you can see how it works:  camera tricks

You may have noticed a “golden topic” when you tried this. We’ve scattered topics across the site for you to find (including this one), and if you can find and click on them all, you’ll unlock a special YouTube Logo to prove your puzzle prowess.

For more clues about the golden topics and for other questions you have, read this article in the Help Center.

An advisory that I am currently not opted in to Topics on Search Beta, and must Click here to opt in, is at the end of the page. I will opt in. I feel a bit uneasy in light of Facebook’s announcement (and rumored retraction) that it would release users’ names, addresses and phone numbers to 3rd-party developers unless the user opted out. I do not use Facebook. Also, I trust Google significantly more than Facebook! Plus I checked the URL associated with the Click here and it appears to be genuine!

My next post will advise whether or not this scavenger hunt for “golden topics” is worthwhile, or the goal attainable. Perhaps I will even have that intriguing “special YouTube Logo” to display, as proof of my puzzle prowess…

January 24, 2011

Special Google Searches

The special searches help section in Google Webmaster Tools was updated for the first time in several years, as of October 2010. Special search results give insight about how your site is indexed by Google.

 

Logo image

Google Webmaster Central Logo

Special site searches

This command returns the full list of special search queries:

info:operator

Search indexed pages

View all pages indexed by Google for your site using  site:operator

Entering

site:google.com

returns all indexed pages for google.com

Note: Don’t use a space between the operator and the URL!

Google search for Wikipedia

Google search results for domain Wikipedia.com and eight sub-domains

Search within a single domain or sub-domain

The same syntax is used whether searching an entire domain, or restricting the search to a sub-domain only.

The same syntax is also used to restrict search results to a specific sub-directory.

The command to search only within the webmasters sub-directory of site google.com is

site:google.com/webmasters

 

Exclude pages

To exclude particular pages from search, use a minus sign before the operator.

This would be the command to return results for all indexed pages on the google.com domain, without any adwords.google.com pages:

site:google.com -site:adwords.google.com

Pages that link to your site’s front page

To search for sites linking to http://www.google.com use either:

  1. link:google.com or
  2. link:www.google.com

Google advises using the first command syntax as it will return more complete results.

Links to pages

Search for all links to specific pages or sub-directories. This command will return all links to the webmasters sub-directory of domain google.com
link:google.com/webmasters

The current cache of your site

View Google’s archived copy of an indexed web page using the cache:operator

This is sometimes called the cached version of the page. For example,

cache:google.com

displays the most recent version of the Google homepage google.com as well as the cache creation date. You may also view a plain-text version of the page. This is useful because it shows how Googlebot sees the page.

Pages that are similar to your site

The related:operator displays websites similar to the site you are looking for. It returns the same results as clicking Similar pages next to a result on the main Google Search results page. Google provides more detail:

This search is like searching a bookstore to find books similar to the first Harry Potter novel. The results could include other children’s books, a biography of J.K. Rowling, or a non-fiction book on children’s literature. In general, use this operator to find resources that overlap. You’ll get the best and most useful results if you use sites that cover a broad range of content.

Google uses several factors to determine the similarity of different sites but does not describe these factors any further, other than stating that

the quality of the sites returned has no impact on your ranking or on how Google indexes your site.

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