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How to get more relevant results from Google


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Presentation given at the Internet Sourcing Workshop, 17th September 2013, Prospero House, Borough High Street, London. Part of the Discover Sourcing conference organised by UK Sourcers.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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How to get more relevant results from Google

  1. 1. 16/09/2013 1 How to get more relevant results from Google Internet Sourcing Workshop,17th September 2013, London #discsource This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License twitter: @karenblakeman
  2. 2. Device dependent 16/09/2013 2
  3. 3. Five things you need to know about Google 1. Google personalises your search Non-personalised search Personalised search
  4. 4. How far does personalisation go? An Awfully Big Blog Adventure: The answer to your question... depends on who you are (Anne Rooney) question-depends-on-who.html 16/09/2013 4 Borromeo vs Borromeo
  5. 5. Private browsing - quickest way “un-personalise”search Chrome - New Incognito window - Ctrl+Shift+N FireFox - File, New Private Window - Ctrl+Shift+P Internet Explorer – Tools, InPrivate Browsing [location varies depending on which version you have] - Ctrl+Shift+P Opera – File, New Private Window - Ctrl+Shift+N Safari – click on Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menu bar, select Private Browsing and then click on OK. Will not remove country personalisation
  6. 6. Five things you need to know about Google 2. Google automatically looks for variations on your search terms and sometimes drops terms from your search – Google does not tell you it has ignored some of your terms – “..” around terms, phrases, names, titles of documents does not always work – To force an exact match and inclusion of a term in a search prefix it with „intext:‟ UK public transport intext:algal biofuels – Use Verbatim for an exact match search
  7. 7. Google Verbatim
  8. 8. Five things you need to know about Google 3. Google web search does not search everything it has in its database – two indexes: main, default index and the supplemental index – supplemental index may contain less popular, unusual, specialist material – supplemental index comes into play when Google thinks your search has returned too few results – Verbatim and some advanced search commands seems to trigger a search in the supplemental index
  9. 9. “Normal” search 84,600 Search after Verbatim is applied 105,000
  10. 10. Five things you need to know about Google 4. Google changes its algorithms several hundred times a year How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm - YouTube
  11. 11. Five things you need to know about Google 5. We are all Google‟s lab rats Just Testing: Google Users May See Up To A Dozen Experiments see-up-to-a-dozen-experiments-141570 Mostly minor effects on search but sometimes totally bizarre results Google decides that coots are really lions that-coots-are-really-lions/ Update on coots vs. lions coots-vs-lions/
  12. 12. 16/09/2013 12
  13. 13. Google gets personal All searches lead to Google+ (they wish!) Emphasis on individuals/authors Author verification – linking Google+ profiles to other network profiles, websites, blogs, social media Search Google+ separately but beware “private” or limited distribution of some postings Find People on G+ 16/09/2013 13
  14. 14. Choosing your search terms Google automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your terms – cv will find curriculum vitae, resume – but you do not get the same results if you use resume or curriculum vitae in your search instead of CV – OR command to look for alternative terms but often better to run separate searches – no information on how the synonyms are identified or implemented The terms you use can radically change results – copper mining north wales vs. copper extraction north wales 16/09/2013 14
  15. 15. Changing your search terms 16/09/2013 15
  16. 16. Country versions of Google and local information Country versions of Google give priority to local content Useful if you are researching a person, company, or sector in another country Go to the relevant country version of Google, for example,, Google International Domains - List of Country and Language Codes – and-associated-languages-codes-reference-sheet/ 16/09/2013 16
  17. 17. Searching foreign language pages A significant amount of information is in the local language Google has removed the extremely useful “Translated foreign pages” search option  This is how it can be done now 1. Use Google Translate ( to translate your search into the required language. 2. Copy the translated search and paste it into Google search. 3. Google Chrome - enable translate option under advanced search settings, & Chrome will offer to translate the page of results for you. Or click on the „Translate this page‟ link next to a result to view a translation of just that page. 16/09/2013 17
  18. 18. Tricks worth remembering Repeat important search terms in your search strategy Change the order of your terms " " around phrases (but does not always work) - to exclude a term * to stand in for one or more words marketing * director director * marketing 16/09/2013 18
  19. 19. Google commands - filetype Think file format – pdf for research documents, government reports, industry papers, conference papers – ppt or pptx for presentations, tracking down an expert on a topic – xls or xlsx for spreadsheets containing data, delegate lists, staff lists – also doc and docx Use the advanced search screen or the filetype: command zeolites environmental remediation UK filetype:pdf zeolites environmental remediation UK filetype:ppt zeolites environmental remediation UK filetype:pptx renewable energy delegates filetype:xlsx renewable energy delegates filetype:xls 16/09/2013 19
  20. 20. Google commands - site For searching large websites, or groups of sites by type for example government, NHS, academic Search inside a single site (x-ray) Can exclude sites using -site: Use advanced search screen or site: command algal biofuels algal biofuels algal biofuels biofuels public transport wales –site:au 16/09/2013 20
  21. 21. Google commands Numeric range search Anything to do with numbers and quantities: years, temperatures, weights, distances, prices etc Use the advanced search screen or type in your two numbers separated by two full stops as part of your search toblerone 1..5 kg rhodes zeolites 2010..2013 zeolites environmental remediation Manchester 2010..2013 16/09/2013 21
  22. 22. Google commands – title, url Words in the title – can be single words or phrases Use advanced search screen or intitle: nanotechnology manchester intitle:”marketing director” nanotechnology manchester intitle:marketing intitle:director allintitle:marketing director [does not work with search terms in other areas of the page] Words in the URL Use advanced search screen or inurl: nanotechnology manchester inurl:cv nanotechnology manchester inurl:cv inurl:nanotechnology allinurl:cv nanotechnology [does not work with search terms in other areas of the page] 16/09/2013 22
  23. 23. Google Reading level Changes the type of material that is returned Nothing to do with publishers assigned reading age Run the search and from the menu above the results select Search tools, All results, Reading level 16/09/2013 23
  24. 24. Google Reading level 16/09/2013 24 Basic Advanced
  25. 25. Date Search tools, Any time and select an option 16/09/2013 25
  26. 26. daterange: Date restriction does not work with Verbatim Use daterange: command instead Uses Julian date format (fractions omitted) Julian Date Converter Syntax chris rhodes zeolites daterange:2456171-2456545 16/09/2013 26
  27. 27. daterange: the easy way Third party tools for the daterange: search, for example then apply verbatim to results 16/09/2013 27
  28. 28. Google Scholar “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research”. • Search all scholarly literature from one convenient place • Explore related works, citations, authors, and publications • Locate the complete document through your library or on the web • Keep up with recent developments in any area of research • Check who's citing your publications, create a public author profile 16/09/2013 28
  29. 29. Google Scholar advanced search commands Use advanced search screen or commands as follows: + sign before a search term to force an exact match, for example +norne “....” around phrases for example “environmental remediation” intitle: to search for a single word in the title, for example intitle:zeolites environmental remediation allintitle: to search for all of your terms in the title, for example allintitle:zeolites environmental remediation author: to search on an author‟s name, for example zeolites environmental remediation author:rhodes site: to limit your search to specific institution for example marcellus shale Commands can be combined for a precise search, for example author:wolford allintitle:marcellus shale 16/09/2013 29
  30. 30. Google Scholar h-index 16/09/2013 30 Author creates a profile and claims papers
  31. 31. 1. Remember that Google is continually changing 2. Personalisation is a key element of Google‟s algorithms 3. Explore and make use of the options in the menus on your results pages 4. Get to know the advanced search commands 5. If you want to keep Google in check keep up with changes and new developments at Google 16/09/2013 31
  32. 32. Keeping up to date Inside Search Official Google Blog Google Scholar Blog SearchReSearch : Search Engine Land Search Engine Watch Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Karen Blakeman‟s Blog Phil Bradley's weblog 16/09/2013 32
  33. 33. Free fact sheets Search Strategies - Selected Google Commands – Search Strategies - Google Search Tips – 16/09/2013 33