Showing posts with the label search

Search a single website with Google

Occasionally we have the need to search just a single website, yet the site search engine doesn’t seem to be up to the task. Google has a great feature that many don’t know about that lets you search a website using Google. The steps are quite easy to follow. Go to In the search box enter the following: site:domain search term(s) . For example damian lillard . Site:  (including the colon) is the Google keyword telling it to restrict its search to the domain you will name next. The domain must come immediately after the colon -- no spaces . You don’t need to include “www.” or other sub-domains unless you’re certain you want to restrict the results. Here are some examples: for the NBA website ( ) for the NHL website ( ) for Adobe’s website ( ) Treat the search term(s) like any other Google search Check out the results. There are a few tricks that you

Your site search isn't as important as you think

Many times I've heard from colleagues who want to make our help website search the top priority and  I think they’re really missing more important priorities that are much more effective in assisting customers in finding relevant content (and site features/functions). Step back for a moment and consider your site search compared to a Google search. (For that matter even compare to Bing and Yahoo search.) The technology is fundamentally different. Google indexes every page its crawler can access. Your site search has a finite amount of content to index. Google looks at what pages are the most popular both from links to (the pages) and click-throughs (and so much more). At best your search engine knows page popularity, which will become a problem for new content and may likely become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most people will search with 1 to 3 keywords -- only sometimes using a phrase. Google has a rich history of search results related to those words and what’s

Your Writing Style Impacts Your Users Ability to Find What You Wrote

In my last post, " Our search sucks! Why can't it work just like Google? ", I told you to also consider your content when improving your search. Poor titles and multiple articles on a single subject will impact success. I want to expand on content a bit more. First, consider the search results again. If your search engine displays the first part of the content underneath the title, is the information helpful? Next, when the user does click-through on a search result, can they quickly reassure themselves that the content presented is what they're looking for? I believe if you follow the advice of Tim Ash in his article " Fix Your Writing or Suffer Lower Conversion Rates ," you will be able to satisfy these two issues in regards to your content. Whether you're trying to convert a user to buy your product or you're trying to help a customer fix his problem with your product, the principles still apply. Tim begins, "The vast majority of Internet use

Our search sucks! Why can't it work just like Google?

"Why can't I find what I'm looking for on my own companies website? I know the document/content is there -- I wrote it. When I use Google I don't have troubles finding what I'm searching for. Why can't we have Google for our website?" (This is a topic I would not typically post on this blog, but it's an often misunderstood issue that is raised frequently within companies -- an issue I've had to address many times.) The short answer, whether searching your companies (public) website or intranet (website), is that your company websites are not like the Internet and therefore the same technology that Google has developed for you to search the Internet will not work for your company. "But Google sells a search appliance for the Enterprise -- why can't I just use that?" Well, you can use Google's Search Appliance, and it may even be better than your current solution, but it wont live up to using Google to search the Internet. I have

Exclude Websites in Your Searches / Custom Searches

I've been doing quite a bit of research lately on technical topics, where the results would frequently include results from a pay site, Expert Exchange. If you;re familiar with Expert Exchange, they've been very successful in getting their pages to return high in the list of Google results. I have found it very frustrating when I inadvertently click-through on one of their pages. With a little research, I found that Google has a custom search option, where you can include and exclude certain websites. I have created a custom search that includes all Google results with the exception of Expert Exchange. To make it really useful though, I needed it to be in my search bar in Firefox, which I use almost exclusively for new searches. I found a Firefox Add-on to do that too. Here's how you can make your own custom search. If you don't already have one, you must have a Google account. Go to the Google Custom Search page and click "Create a Custom Search" I had to

Amazon search tip

I recently discovered a very helpful search tip for Amazon. When I shop, I like to sort by price, low to high. What usually happens though is I then have to go through all the match but irrelevant items before I get to what I really want. What I learned is that if I use a minus (-) for the items I don't want to see, then I no longer have this issue. Here's an example: Searched for "upconverting DVD players" Sort by price: low to high First thing I get is a bunch of cables Change search to " upconverting DVD players -cables " Sort by price: low to high Now the first results are the low-end upconverting DVD players You can also add multiple items to exclude. For example: " upconverting DVD players -cables -progressive ". BONUS Tip: Use this URL to find all Electronic items that are 85% or greater off of list price: . Change 85 to any number to get the percentage you are looking for. Thanks

More alternate search engines

You know that Google is popular, right? reported a nearly 44% share for July 2006, while Yahoo! and MSN continue to lose market share. ( HitWise reported a 64% U.S. share for March 2007) In January I wrote about a few alternate search engines ( Ms. Dewey , ChaCha , Snap , and Rollyo ), in case you were interested in whether their was a competitor or two on the horizon. If that didn't move you away from Google (it didn't make me change), there are 100 more search engines you might want to try at Read / WriteWeb . Let me know if you find any promising alternatives; right now I'm staying with Google.

Alternate and New Search Engines

As companies try to develop a better search engine, it turns out it is much more difficult to dethrone Google than I believe most realize. I looked at four new search engines, Snap , Ms. Dewey , ChaCha , and Rollyo , and found that they all had a long way to go. To be fair, I did not do an exhaustive test, but in most case the user interface is bad enough to not want to use the search engine. In two cases, if you have a particular niche need, you might find help. If you are struggling to find something on the Internet, you might try ChaCha's guided searches, where someone will actually help you. Or, if you search for the same topics over several sites, frequently, Rollyo may be worth a further look. Before I share all the details, as I said, I did not do an exhaustive test. What I did do is search for these four phrases: 1) content effectiveness; 2) fingertip knowledge; 3) Chris Todd; and 4) Excel tips. I also considered that for a successful search, it takes two things: 1) a good

Take a Third Look at Google Desktop

I had tried the free Google Desktop at work, twice, and each time uninstalled it. First because I could not search my network drives. (I like to use network drives to share files with my colleagues, and to make sure they are backed up.) Later I had decided to try again, and then discovered the possible security issues. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Google now has addressed the security concerns and they have released an update that will index networked drives. I have been running this now for about two weeks, and it generally has performed well. The Google Desktop Search is based on keywords, so it does not always give you the most relevant results. I also had some troubles with PowerPoint running very slow while editing. (I turn the search off when I am working in PowerPoint.) With those caveats, it seems to be a good solution. A nice, new feature is that if you hit your CTRL button twice, a search dialog appears in the center of your screen. Of course Google Desktop will