Five Great Google Search Tips

If you have ever felt discouraged when trying to find something specific on the web but Google search lists a ton of sites that aren’t relevant, you’re not alone.

Try these handy tips to hone your search terms and help Google locate precisely the information you need:

Sometimes, the most obvious things are the most overlooked, and tabs at the top of search results are no exception. Get closer to your desired results simply by clicking the tab that best describes what you want.

If you need a picture, for example, select Images, and you will see nothing but images. The same holds true for news and more.

Word order is often crucial to finding the right information, but Google search doesn’t naturally take this into account.

For example, you may want to locate information about the movie Simon Birch, but your search turns up results for a guy named Simon talking about birch trees. Simply put quotation marks around your term to search for a precise phrase.

There also may be words or phrases you wish to exclude from your search results. In this case, put a hyphen in front of the term to indicate you don’t want to see information that contains that term.

For example, if you wish to learn about antique dolls but are not interested in Barbie dolls, input antique dolls -Barbie.

Colons to Search Specific Sites
If you need to restrict your search results to a specific site, add a colon followed by the site address after your search terms to let Google show results only from that particular website. When you want to read news about the ebola virus just on CNN, for example, type in ebola virus:

This is also useful to search your company’s website. Simply use the word site, a colon, followed by your company’s website address. This will display all pages Google has indexed from your website.

Related Sites Search
Sometimes, you want to discover similar sites to ones you already enjoy. Let’s say you like the types of articles on Elephant Journal but have already read everything there. You can find new and similar reading material by searching related:

How Important Are Websites And Search Engine Rankings For Local Businesses?


Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

I recently had to find a new veterinarian for my dog Daisy. She had a fairly large sized tumor in a delicate spot, and it needed to come off. Her former doctor in Ohio sold his practice, so I was searching for a local vet who could take care of the surgery and ongoing care.

Daisy’s a healthy dog, but she’s getting up in years – she’ll be 15 on her next birthday – so I was really concerned about the effects of anesthesia and the success of the surgery.

Of course, I spoke to friends and family for their recommendations, but I also spent a lot of time looking on my own. And where did I search? Google, of course.

We have a large number of small business clients who serve the local market area – companies like florists, tanning salons, and even a marina – and aren’t interested in, or even need, the global exposure a web site gives their company.

A fresh and updated website doesn’t always figure into their marketing strategy. I think that’s a costly mistake. According to a report published by Google, 70% of consumers still reference the yellow pages. I was surprised by that statistic – I don’t even have a phone book at home anymore.

What’s interesting is that only 33% of those consumers use the yellow pages exclusively. That means that almost 70% of local shoppers are using search engines for at least part, if not all, of their buying research for local products and services.

Google has recognized the need for local, small business search results, and has for a number of years offered Google Places and Google Local for small businesses to showcase their companies. Places or Local results point back to a company’s website.

That’s the important part. While I was looking for a veterinarian, I found a dozen local offices. About half of those had websites. And all but two of those websites were old and out of date. One doctor’s page even had the wrong phone number on it.

Having an updated and user-friendly website is only part of doing well in local search.

The other part is optimizing your site to make it index well in Google, so when consumers search for the services you provide, your site shows up at the top of the listings.

We offer both website development services, as well as search engine optimization. Pricing for a modern, user friendly website (that you can edit yourself once it’s finished!) starts at just $299. If your website needs are more complex, we can handle that too – and at a very budget-friendly price point. If you have an interest in updating or modernizing your company’s website, I’d welcome the chance to talk with you about it.

Daisy is doing great, by the way. Her stitches came out a few weeks ago and she’s back to chasing cats in the yard and angling for cookies in the house.

Enhance Your B2B Digital Strategy

The word digital is still a bit of a taboo in the B2B world with most companies still having not fully integrated digital strategies into their marketing efforts.

Many B2B executives remain unconvinced that digital marketing will really assist them to take their company to new levels. They believe their services or products are too niche to work on social media, yet this notion fails to hold water when the efforts of similar entities are taken into account.

One good tip for B2B companies that have yet or are just starting to enter the digital age is to embrace inbound marketing.

Search engines are used by around 93% of all B2B buyers when they start the process of purchasing. This makes search engine advertising a potentially huge tool, allowing the customer to discover the company on their own without the need for cold calling, direct mail or TV and radio ads.

Showing that you are a trusted advisor is the key to making this technique work. Once the prospect contacts you, it is crucial to talk to a client in the manner of a normal conversation rather than a hard sell.

Google Makes “Plus One” Available Web-Wide

If you’ve seen those “+1” widgets are at the bottom of a lot of websites, articles, and links, then you’re in tune with Google’s latest social networking push.

Think of the “Plus One” as being similar to Facebook’s “Like” button or a thumbs-up icon. It’s a way to indicate that you find a page helpful or useful.

Clicking on the +1 does more than just increment a counter. Clicking a +1 widget requires that you have a Google account. The first and most visible thing that a +1 does is add the page to your Google profile.

Your profile page can be public or private, serving as a personal list of pages that you found valuable.

You’ll start seeing +1 icons appearing in US search results, too. If you see the icon underneath a search result, that’s an indication that a friend (or friends) have found that link useful. Your Google “friends” are contacts you’ve stored in your Google Account.

As time goes on, search results will become more useful as you can see which links and options are recommended by your friends, and might be useful.

How Does Google’s Personal Search Affect Your Business?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Consider this statement: “On Friday afternoon, Google made the biggest change that has ever happened in search engines, and the world largely yawned.” That quote is from a December 7, 2009, post on Search Engine Land, a website that covers Google, Bing and the other Internet search engines.

Don’t worry if you didn’t read the post. Since it was early December when Google announced that it would start personalizing all search results, we were getting ready for the holidays.

It isn’t clear at first glance just how significant this change will be. A closer look, though, reveals nothing short of a revolution in the making.

Here is what Google did, according to Google: “Today we’re helping people get better search results by extending Personalized Search to signed-out users worldwide, and in more than forty languages. Now when you search using Google, we will be able to better provide you with the most relevant results possible.”

A real world example: I do a lot of searches for recipes, and often click on results from Knowing this, Google might rank higher on the results page the next time I look for recipes.

Other times, when I’m looking for news about the University of Michigan’s football team, I search for “Michigan wolverines.”

Because I frequently click on, Google might show me this result first, instead of search results about the animal.

Google is able to do this because they are now cataloging all of your searches for over 180 days. It then uses your search history to customize your results.

If you’re not signed in to your Google account, a cookie on your browser keeps a record of your queries.

Sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it? Better search results? Tailored to exactly what I need? I like this change! Others, however, might squirm at the Orwellian aspect of an omniscient Google knowing exactly what you want. Whether the change is good or bad is debatable, but it’s certainly going to be big.

Until now, search engines have largely delivered the same results to everyone. Two different people could search for Barack Obama and get back the same set of results.

The days of “normal” search results that everyone sees are now over. Personalized results are the “new normal,” and the change is going to shift the search world and society in general in unpredictable ways.

How might this change shift the world? Here are a few scenarios:

Narrowing your Internet experience
This change could curtail what we’ll call “search-engine serendipity.” Search-engine serendipity happens when you search Google with a preconceived notion of what you’ll find, but instead you end up exploring new ideas and virgin territory. Personalized results may repeatedly channel you through the same grooves, limiting your exposure to things outside your experience.

Confirm your personal biases
Search Engine Land’s Dan Sullivan picks up on this possibility in his post: “Is a search for Michelle Obama showing a racist image? Maybe for one person, but not for another.”

For the xenophobic Googler, every search may reinforce his xenophobic worldview because personalization filters sites that don’t jibe with his tastes. Another example: Once Google has you pegged as a bleeding heart liberal, it may serve up Huffington Post for every query.

Polarize our political system
You can see where we’re going with this. If personalized results reinforce our beliefs, we’ll soon have Google red and Google blue. The folks in Mountain View have tried to comfort people by saying that it wants “diversity of results.” But that poses another troubling question: Who will define diversity? Google?

It could reduce the visibility of your website
Since no one but Google knows how its personalization algorithm works, it’s hard to know how far-reaching the change will be. But it’s plausible that a business’ website would no longer rank for certain keywords among certain prospects. If, for example, a person went on an book-buying spree, Google might take note and start displaying for a majority of product-related queries, which is great … if you’re

It could skew your SEO efforts
Since there is no longer a ‘normal’ set of results, it becomes more difficult to optimize your website. There isn’t one bull’s eye to aim for anymore: there are millions of them and they’re moving all the time as Google refreshes its 180-day cache of your search terms.

Personalized Search for Everyone

Bing, Bing, Bing! Microsoft’s Search Engine A Hit!

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft has released their own search engine in an effort to compete with Google in the search engine market. Originally the search engine that was going to be called “Kumo” has been released and the name is “Bing.”

Microsoft is off to a pretty good start according to the marketing research company that provides marketing data and services to many of the Internet’s largest businesses,comScore Inc. Microsoft has improved their search market share by 1.7 points to 15.5% in the week following the release of Bing.

So what is causing all these improvements, and catching the eyes of the public? What does Bing have to offer that Google hasn’t already thought of? Here are a few of the features Bing has integrated into the search engine. Interface features, multimedia features, instant answers, product search, webmaster services, mobile services, toolbars, gadgets, advertising, and many more.

So let’s talk about some of these features and what they mean to us – the end user.

The interface feature is one of my favorites, probably because it’s so appealing to the eye, and got my attention right from the  very first visit to Bing. The background image changes each and every day, taking you to the most remarkable places in the world, with vivid colors, and great angles.

You can even view the information about the subject of the image by hovering over the image.

Video previewing has never been so cool. By hovering over a video thumbnail, the video actually will automatically start playing, and give you a taste of what the site offers, before you actually click on the result.

The image search is very impressive as well, allowing image searching with continuous scrolling images, with adjustable settings for size, layout, color, and style.

In addition to its tool(s) for searching WebPages, Bing also provides search offerings for health, images, local, maps, news, shopping, translator, travel, videos, and xRank. Most of those are pretty self explanatory, but what about xRank?

XRank is a feature that actually allows users to search for celebrities, musicians, politicians, and bloggers. You can read short biographies and news about them, and track  their own personal trends and/or popularity rankings.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty good engine Microsoft has put together, but will it be enough to compete with the market dominator Google?

Google is the king of search, of course, but the problem with Google’s results is that they’re based soley on mathematical calcualtions, whereas Bing employs some artificial intelligence. Only time will tell. In the meantime, go check Bing out first hand via and decide for yourself.

Six More Super Effective Search Engine Optimization Tips

Here are six additional search engine optimization strategies you can start today to bring more traffic to your business website:

1. Include only the most important, meaningful keywords in your site’s title tag or the title that appears in the bar at the top of the web page.

2. Make sure your site includes as much information as possible, preferably 250 words on each page.

3. Spend the time necessary to know the keywords your prospective clients use to find your firm and its products/services.

4. Don’t try to trick the search engines by loading your site with irrelevant keywords that have nothing to do with your business.

5. Don’t allow your most important keywords to be contained in graphics. Try substituting formatted HTML text for graphics.

6. Citation mapping, the number of links that point to your Website, is critical to all search engines when assigning ranking.

Use as many relevant quality links as possible that point to your site, to guarantee top placement.