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SEO 101: How to Search More Effectively

By  Dec 1, 2014

Topics: Information Technology

Google drives online life. There are roughly 40,000 global search queries every second. 40,000 search queries every second equates to roughly 3.5 billion global search queries per day. 3.5 billion search queries per day translates to roughly 1.2 trillion global search queries per year. As of the writing of this article 3:38 EST on 11/25/14, there have been 2.618 billion searches today. 

Search is critical to online life. Like blood flowing in your veins, search is the life force of the Internet. And yet, no one ever tells you how to search. There are tips and tricks you can use to make your search queries more effective, more targeted. Below are some of those search tips. 

Global Google Search Queries Per Second

No one ever tells you how to search. Most search queries are conducted using a few formats:

  • Questions - Question searches are ubiquitous in search. Ex. "What is website block level analysis? A Google search query formatted as a question is a targeted search format seeking direct answers. Much like a student asking a teacher a question, question based search queries seek a defined answer.

  • Participle Strings - Participle Strings are search queries formatted as independent linking word sentences. A good example of a participle string search is "Thai Food NYC SoHo". While the input isn't in sentence format, enough information is stored in the query to allow Google to understand the results the searcher is looking for. By taking apart the string into two sections, "Thai Food" and "NYC SoHo", Google is able to correlate the information resulting in a local search page filled with local NYC SoHo Thai restaurants.

  • Linked Quotations - The linked quotations search serves an an existing relic of search. Before search grew to its current intelligence, searchers posed queries designed to target specific keywords linked by the word "and". A good example of this type of search is: "Bruno Mars" and "Mark Ronson". The query posed to Google using quotations linked by "and" tells Google to pull all specific content hitting on both Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. As of 11/25, the result yields the song "Uptown Funk".

  • But here is the thing, while these methods of searching can get the job done, they aren't the most effective avenue to reach desired content.

    Five Highly Effective Tips to Search Better

    1. Understanding Searches Related To

    Next time your conduct a search, before you click into your content of choice, do yourself a favor and scroll to the bottom of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Located at the bottom of the SERP is something Google calls "Searches Related To". The "Searches Related To" section is Google's way of telling you what other keyword searches are relevant to your conducted search. They are also Google's way of telling you what related content around the globe are searching for. This means when you search for "search query" as I did in the photo below, the related keywords are telling you what your original search query is related or even, synonymous to.

    The information can help you to drill down in your search results. Instead of searching utilizing a random assortment of words, adding the searches related to keywords into your query will provide you with more specific target relevant search results.

    Searches Related To

    2. Synonymous Keyword Tilde Searches

    The synonymous keyword search is a way for you to discover what keywords Google counts as synonymous to your original query. More so than related to searches, synonymous searches allow you to drill down even further by understanding specific highly targeted search traffic which Google equates as equal to original search criteria. To conduct a synonymous keyword search, start your query with a tilde - the ~. When you scroll down to the "searches related to" section, you will see your results have changed. The change reflects a drilled down criteria asking Google to return keywords which carry the exact meaning as your original search criteria.

    Synonymous keyword tilde searches are important because they allow you to fully understand the keywords and content which surround your search query. They provide context and open up a path for you to further explore content Google believes you will find useful. To put it another way, synonymous keyword tilde search gives you the tools to more effectively answer your questions.

    3. Specific Website Content Search

    Sometimes you know what site you want to find a specific piece of content on however you aren't sure where on that site the content lives. The answer is easy. To conduct a search query of a specific website enter your search query followed by site:website. If I wanted to search for everything about Carmelo Anthony on NBA.com, I would type in the following: Carmelo Anthony site:NBA.com. The SERP page will find all content on Carmelo Anthony yet only content which lives on NBA.com.

    This is a great tool because it allows you to drill into a website more effectively for specific results. The more specific a website you enter, i.e. http://www.nba.com/knicks/?ls=iref:nba:gnav, the more highly targeted your search results will be. In my case, searching for Carmelo Anthony site:http://www.nba.com/knicks/?ls=iref:nba:gnav, yields search results within the NY Knicks sub-domain of NBA.com.

    4. Related Website Search

    Using the related website search aspect of Google allows you to find websites which are related. This is a great avenue of search if you are bored with a website or simply want to see what other websites deal in the content you love. To conduct a related website search use the following syntax - related:spotify.com. Not only is this a great avenue to find websites that deal in content you love, if you are a digital marketer, using related search will enable you to drill down on your competition. 

    5. Search by File Type

    Remember that PDF file you were reading a few days ago on Gartner or do you remember that search tips spreadsheet you were viewing on Moz? Well, if you happened to forget the exact name of the file yet you remember the file type, Google will allow you to find it based on wildcards + file type. To conduct a wildcard + file type search, input the following:

    *insert search term* filetype:pdf

    Once your search term is inserted, Google will search for your file type based on your search parameters. This means you can find a file you were reading without knowing its url, its full name or what website it is hosted on.

    These five search tips should help you search in a more expert manner. Happy searching.

    Remember, if you like this content and want to chat about it, you can reach me at the following social spaces:

    1. Twitter: @bleibowi
    2. Linkedin: Brad Yale
    3. Google +: Brad Yale