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Halfling 09-21-2010 12:23 PM

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Using Google Advanced Search on

Using Google to search for web sites and information is probably second nature to most of us but using it when you are looking for something specific on our web site (or any web site for that matter) is an often underutilized feature. This article will walk you through some of the specifics about using Google‚€™s Advanced Search functionality to search a single website. Throughout the article, we'll use square brackets [] to specify a signal search query, so [black and white] is one query, while [black] and [white] are two separate queries. You do not type in the brackets.

Lets get to Advanced Search
Once you have called up the Google page at you simply click on ‚€œAdvanced Search‚€Ě to the right of the search block. When you get to the next page you may want to save it in your favorites for easy access (that's what I do).

The top section of the Advanced Search form is where you will specify most of your search requirements. Remember, the narrower your search criteria the easier it is to review the results (less hits). The more items you enter the narrower your search becomes. This is sometimes referred to as casting a big net or a small net. Note: these fields are case insensitive so GL is the same as gl.[/i]

The very first block I want you to fill in is down towards the bottom. It is the Search within a site or domain block. Here you will simply put goldwingfacts.comĚ (without the quotes). What this does is run your search only against this specific web site (cool huh!).

Next, you will go back up the form and put in the details of your search criteria.

· The all these words block is used to enter as many words as you want that you think my narrow down the search for you. As an example you could enter [gl1800 abs brakes] and you will be presented with all of the results that contain all three words in any order and even with words in between them.

¬∑ The this exact wording or phraseĚ block can be used to further narrow your search if you are looking for something even more specific. Here, for example you could enter something like [brake failure] or even [pad replacement]. Again, anything you put here will help to narrow the search criteria.

¬∑ The one or more of these wordsĚ block can be used to specify cases where you may want ANY of the listed words to be searched and present the results. For example, if we enter [gl1800], or [abs] or [brakes] we will get results for everything that contains ANY of these words (not ALL).

· The next section allows you to enter in words that you may not want to show the results for. Sticking with the above example we could enter in [1100 1200 1500] to make sure that we don't get any results on a different model bike.

Additional Functionality
There is an additional section that can be expanded by clicking on the + sign located to the left of Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more‚€Ě. This will give you a few more options to further narrow your search. I believe most of these options to be self explanatory and you can probably figure them out.

Tips for better searches
Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular company, just enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall. If you're looking for a particular concept, place, or product, start with its name. If you're looking for a pizza restaurant, just enter pizza and the name of your town or your zip code. Most queries do not require advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.

Think how the post you are looking for will be written. A search engine is not a human; it is a program that matches the words you give to post within the forum.

Use the words that are most likely to appear on the post. For example, instead of saying [my bike won't stop], say [brake failure] or just [brakes], because that's the term a forum post will use. The query [in what country are gremlin bells considered an omen of good luck?] is very clear to a person, but the post that gives the answer may not have those exact words. Instead, use the query [gremlin bells good luck], because that is probably what the right post will say.

Describe what you need with as few terms as possible. The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search. For example, [weather atlanta] is a simple way to find the weather and it is likely to give better results than the longer [weather report for Atlanta Georgia].

Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info,' are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use; it may not match the posts you need. For example, [celebrity ringtones] is more descriptive and specific than [celebrity sounds].

AZgl1800 09-21-2010 04:14 PM

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The bottom search bar of the two search bars on the menu pages is a Forum specific Google search also.

Not as elaborate as what you described, but if just looking for one or two words, it can be useful.

Halfling 09-21-2010 04:44 PM

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I totally agree however, that is the method that is most commonly used and that most people seem to complain about. The Google Advanced search feature allows for a much more refined search with a better chance of getting what you want without weeding through a hundred different hits. Again, I am not disagreeing with you at all...just pointing out another way.


AZgl1800 09-22-2010 09:36 AM

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I just caught your thoughts on the subject over in the TEST forum.

When this runs down the page again, we can move it to the TEST forum section and put it all together there.

wexy 09-23-2010 03:51 AM

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Or maybe a link to it in the FAQ section of the forum ..?

wingnut 09-23-2010 04:02 AM

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Excellent work John. I'll move this to the TEST forum and sticky it.

sandiegobrass 09-23-2010 11:47 AM

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Good job..

Like I ahve said many times before (it takes a while to be inderstood), this is what we need to learn.. a self built search function will never be able to compete with what already exists in google... (even Microsoft trys but fails IMO with BING).. even the little google box provided by the forum works pretty good...

Also, if I read google correctly adding Google search functionality directly to the Forum costs money, so by teaching everyone how to use the free advanced features will do the samethingwithout incurring cost.

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