Note: This post is going to use the word “Google” loads of times. Know that when I say Google, I am talking Search part of Google. Not the whole tech conglomerate that it’s become today, okay? To make things further clear, if I need to refer to the company itself, Google, Inc. I will be clear. By the way, google is also a verb, meaning “to type words into the search engine Google in order to find information about somebody/something“. All clear? Great!
Google is one very effective tool for searching information you need. It’s fast, easy and very effective. Though it started with one algorithm that ranked webpages in correspondence with the number of links they had, but over years it became more than that. Now Google keeps track of more than 200 factors (called ranking signals) to try to understand search queries, analyze relevant pages accordingly 200 factors and present you with accurately ranked webpages with high-quality pages from top to bottom.
Google’s INDEX contains a whopping 60 trillion (60,000,000,000,000) webpages! The number is aggressively growing as we speak. You can imagine how arduous and complex it must be to rank so many webpages daily, without ever taking a breath. Aside from great amount of human energy, it would require billions-gazillions of memory capacity to store all these webpages. Yes! Every single page that Google indexes is technically saved in Google’s servers. Typically a simple webpage would occupy few MBs, but when you see the big picture, together these trillions of webpages make up and occupy billions of petabytes of data. All this stuff is stored in Google’s data centres.
Are you getting me? All this stuff is truly complex, yet Google does it better than anyone else. They develop computer programs and algorithms to enable their search engine to understand your search queries.
“The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want.” — Larry Page Co-founder & CEO
Now that you understand how wonderful a job Google is doing. There’s more. Today Dekho Geeko brings you a list of hacks to Google efficiently. Without further ado, here you go!
#1 Search within individual sites
Oft. times our favorite sites lack a search engine or an effective one. What do you do then? Of course, you can’t go through whole site trying to find what you’re looking for, right? What do you do then? Well, that’s where this technique comes in handy. Use Google to search within individual sites. Open Google, type site: operator next to site you’re searching within and don’t forget the query. Example?
But notice that I did not put the http(s) or WWW part of domain name. Because that will limit results to URLs that have WWW or http(s) in front.
#2 Search within subdomains
You can do same by the use of site: operator. It’s easy. Instead of domain name with subdomain of desired site. Piece of cake, right?
#3 Search within directories
With the use of site: operator, you can search within directories of a website too. site: has lots to offer, just needs playing around. See.. if I wanted to use Google to search within Amazon’s electronics section for any reason, how would I do that? Well, follow along.
#4 Search within https-limited URLs
If, for any reason, you wanted to get search results with https in URLs. You can do so with the help of inurl: operator. Here goes an example!
#5 Exclude a site from results
Looking for opinionated content, Wikipedia (“the factopedia”) is irking you? Worry not for you have the power to rid yourself of them. How? Just put an hyphen (-) besides site: operator. Like this:
#6 Exclude sites with a particular word
You can also exclude results that contain a particular word by doing something similar to earlier mentioned point. Just put an hyphen (-) besides the word you don’t want in your results.
#7 “OR” logical operator
Here OR is a logical operator, which means that it will work almost exactly the same way it works otherwise. When do we use OR word in day to day life? When we are unsure about two words or to describe same thing in two ways, right? So if you are if it is Apple computers or Apple’s computers, use OR operator in between your search query. Please do not neglect the capitalization of OR, it is intended and required for the operator to work.
#8 Search media-wise
Chances are huge that you’re already familiar with this technique and use it often. By media-wise, I mean to say, if you’re searching for images, click Images tab. If you want results to be videos, click Videos tab. Same goes for Maps, if you want map for a particular region, just click Maps tab.
#9 Is it going to rain tonight?
Got an interview this evening? Planning a trip to Nepal? Worried if it might rain next week, so you can make plans accordingly? Well, you would love Google’s weather-related features. Use the search engine to learn about your regional weather. Requires nothing rocket-science, just type your region name in combination with keyword weather. Like so karachi weather.
#10 Get results from Gmail, Drive, etc.
Guess what? You may command Google to retrieve results to your query from Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc. Don’t worry, results from your inbox or cloud storage is visible only to you. Search Field Trial is the experiment that’s, unluckily, still in trial and not yet released to public. This is probably the most exciting item on the list. Because, of course, not only is it capable of displaying results from your Drive, Gmail or Calendar, rather it goes beyond.
It will also give you details about flight timings, schedule events and packages being shipped. If you’re from US, you can opt in their trial here.
#11 Get straight answers
Google Quick Answer Box is a technology under development, so don’t judge it yet. This technology intends to make 10 blue links less valuable and attractive by supplying answer to your question directly from SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Try googling “president of india”, the top result will be a direct answer. You saw how it worked? It almost made visiting Wikipedia individually and then reading more than a couple of lines and finally getting answer to your question, right?
Interestingly, Answer Box both presents challenges and opportunities to SEOs. On one hand, SEOs worry that technology in question will make legendary 10 blue links almost useless. On another hand, they see fruits of getting their pages featured in the quick answer box (which will boost their result visibility).
Here is an example.
Share your tips!
This is definitely not an extensive list. I am pretty sure there are many other hacks and techniques that I am unaware of. If you know any missing technique, please comment below and we will add them! Stay tuned for second feature of GoogFu!