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Become A Better Searcher

March 29, 2010

When using major search engines, such as Google, to find information, there are some little known commands that can help you make your search more precise and find information faster and more efficiently. There are a large number of different commands in Google, so I will discuss some basic commands that will help people find information and some more advanced commands that can be used for competitive research.

Almost all of us have reached some level of frustration trying to find something in a search engine. One of the most basic ways to make your search results more specific is to use the minus symbol next to irrelevant keywords. Let’s say for example, you are searching for information on a new Honda Accord you are planning to buy. You search “2010 Honda Accord” and most of the results are about repairs. To remove any results that are about repairs, you can include the minus symbol next to the word repairs in the search query. Your search query would look like this:

2010 Honda Accord -repairs

Something else that causes people frustration is trying to find a page of a particular website. You can use Google to search for a phrase only within a specific website. For this you use the “site:” command. Let’s take the example above and say we are looking for information on the 2010 Honda Accord on the domain. You can eliminate results from all other websites using the following query:

2010 Honda Accord

This will only return pages on the website.

Finally, let’s discuss some more advanced search commands. Let’s say you are trying to rank your website for a specific phrase and you want to know how competitive that phrase is. You can determine how many competing webpages have that phrase in the anchor text of an inbound link using the “allinanchor:” command. For example, if you are targeting the phrase “internet marketing consultant” you can see how many other pages have links pointing to them with that exact phrase in the anchor text using this query:

allinanchor: internet marketing consultant

The number of pages returned will give you a good idea of how many pages you will have to compete with.