Beating Google into Submission


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Presentation given at the Online Information exhibition, National Hall, Olympia, London. 30th November 2011

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  • 30/11/11 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • Beating Google into Submission

    1. Beating Google into Submission Karen Blakeman Online Information 2011 #online11 Twitter: @karenblakeman Slides available at and also on authorSTREAM and Slideshare 30/11/11 This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
    2. Disclaimer: the content of these slides was correct on November 24 th 14.59 GMT, using via Chrome, and signed into one of my Google accounts. Of course, a lot of it will have changed by now!! 30/11/11
    3. Google knows best 30/11/11 Hewish mild Google decided to change my search to Jewish mild = Google decides that coots are lions – changed a search for coots mating behaviour to lions mating behaviour
    4. Coots mating behaviour = lions mating behaviour <ul><li>A Google experiment? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we think Google assumed coots was a typing error for cats and then did a synonym search on cats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>See: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google decides that coots are really lions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Update on coots vs. lions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google still thinks coots are possibly cats (or cows) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exact search when </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the term coots was repeated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the order of the search terms was changed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thanks to Arthur Weiss and Susanna Winter for their help with this oddity </li></ul>30/11/11
    5. Google's Collateral Damage: SEO Cat & Mouse Game 30/11/11 <ul><li>Google revenues </li></ul><ul><li>- $29.321 billion ($8.505 billion net) </li></ul><ul><li>- Q1+Q2+Q3=$27.301 billion ($7.032 billion net) </li></ul>2011 Financial Tables - Google Investor Relations
    6. How Google works <ul><li>“ Dear Bing, We Have 10,000 Ranking Signals To Your 1,000. Love, Google” </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 200 hundred “signals” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each may have over 50 variations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>/ </li></ul>30/11/11
    7. Google knows us so well 30/11/11 Google personalises and tailors your results depending on your location, computer, browser, past searches, what you have looked at in the past, your +1s, your blocked sites, Google experiments, your Google+ account, your other social networks, what you do on your android phone, what you had for breakfast...and anything else it can find by rummaging around in your Google dashboard. Check your account’s dashboard at
    8. Google includes social media 30/11/11
    9. Google is good at.... <ul><li>Localisation </li></ul><ul><li>Country versions give priority to local content </li></ul><ul><li>Localisation at town/city level </li></ul><ul><ul><li>may have to tell Google where you are based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>don’t have to tell Google my town if I am looking a local restaurant, taxi or plumber </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>especially useful when using a mobile device </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personalisation? Varies from person to person as to whether it is useful </li></ul><ul><li>Image search </li></ul><ul><li>Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Google Finance </li></ul><ul><li>Overall coverage and rolling out features worldwide </li></ul>30/11/11
    10. <ul><li>BUT.......what I see on my screen for a search is not what you’ll see on yours. </li></ul><ul><li>This affects how we advise users and clients on the best search strategy. </li></ul>30/11/11
    11. No plus sign any more and Google ignores “...” <ul><li>Dear Google, stop messing with my search : </li></ul>30/11/11
    12. Google does a “soft AND” <ul><li>“ When you do a multi-term query on Google (even with quoted terms), the algorithm sometimes backs-off from hard ANDing all of the terms’s clear that people will often write long queries (with anywhere from 5 to 10 terms) for which there are no results. Google will then selectively remove the terms that are the lowest frequency to give you some results (rather than none)....Soft AND is a way to reduce the overall frustration and give the searcher something to examine (and with luck, a chance to reformulate their query).” </li></ul><ul><li>Dan Russell </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>30/11/11
    13. We now have Verbatim search <ul><li>Run your search first and then select Verbatim from the left hand menu on your results page </li></ul><ul><li>Appears that you can include advanced search commands in your strategy e.g. OR and the tilde (~) for synonyms </li></ul><ul><li>Google: Verbatim for exact match search </li></ul>30/11/11
    14. 30/11/11 “ Normal” search Verbatim (identical to &pws=0) Chrome Incognito Google web searches
    15. Use the results sidebars <ul><li>These help you focus your search </li></ul><ul><li>Vary depending on type of search e.g. web, news, images </li></ul><ul><li>Open up the &quot;more&quot; options to see everything </li></ul>30/11/11
    16. Translated pages for a different perspective <ul><li>Google suggests languages from context of search but you can choose your own </li></ul><ul><li>Your search is translated and the results are translated into your original language </li></ul>30/11/11
    17. Google sidebars 30/11/11 Images Videos News Books Blogs
    18. Where have cached and similar gone? 30/11/11 Hover over a result and a &quot;preview&quot; of the page should appear to the right together with cached and similar links
    19. Block sites that you never, ever want to see again! <ul><li>Use with caution – Google may use your blocked sites as a ranking &quot;signal&quot; for other searchers </li></ul><ul><li>Sign into your Google account </li></ul><ul><li>Run your search, click on a result, return to results and a block option is made available </li></ul><ul><li>Site will be blocked from all your future searches regardless of topic </li></ul>30/11/11
    20. Learn advanced search commands <ul><li>Advanced Search screen (now hidden under cog wheel in upper right hand corner of the screen) </li></ul><ul><li>Do more with commands </li></ul><ul><li>For example selecting file type ppt on the Advanced Search screen will only search for ppt and not pptx </li></ul><ul><li>Use filetype command instead, for example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>zeolites environmental remediation filetype:ppt (35 results) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>zeolites environmental remediation filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx (42 results) </li></ul></ul>30/11/11
    21. Essential commands <ul><li>filetype: </li></ul><ul><li>site: </li></ul><ul><li>inurl: and allinurl: </li></ul><ul><li>intitle: and allintitle: </li></ul><ul><li>related: </li></ul><ul><li>Numeric range search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[1 st number]..[2 nd number] [unit of measurement (optional)] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1..7 kg </li></ul></ul>30/11/11
    22. Keeping up to date <ul><li>Inside Search </li></ul><ul><li>Official Google Blog </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Land </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Watch </li></ul><ul><li>Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting </li></ul><ul><li>Karen Blakeman’s Blog </li></ul><ul><li>Phil Bradley's weblog </li></ul>30/11/11