I’m notoriously bad with song lyrics. But I can type a few words from the song’s chorus into Google, and bam- every word is right there in the first result. The trick is to use an asterisk in place of the words you don’t know.
There are actually tons of tricks like this that you can use in your Google search query. They’re great when you don’t exactly know what you want. And they’re great when you’re looking for ways to improve your website.
1) You can Google an image. Not the keywords of an image. An actual image.
This is probably the coolest Google hack that nobody knows about. You can search for an image by clicking on the camera icon in the search box on Google Images. Then you use the image’s URL or upload an image from your computer. The results will show you the sites that also use that exact same picture and show you “visually similar images” from around the web.
This hack could be particularly useful for finding other sites that use some of the same visual elements of your site. Wondering what other sites may be using that infographic that your design team created?
You can also use this tool for inspiration. Upload an image you like and click through the results to find some fresh ideas for visuals.
2) You can get SEO insights.
So for some reason, your competitor keeps showing up higher in search results. Do some sleuthing with this Google hack that lets you search for pages that link to a certain page. For example, if you want to find pages that link to your competitor’s blog post, type “link:competitor.com/blogpost” in the search bar.
Those links from outside websites are an important component of your competition’s SEO. Take the results of your “link:” search and use it to generate ideas about other organizations that you might be able to partner with. Perhaps they’d like to feature your organization on their website.
3) You can filter out the irrelevant search results.
Trying to figure out who your competitors are? Maybe your search for jaguar conservation organizations also brings up automobile enthusiast clubs. Simply exclude a domain or word from your search results by adding a “-” before the term you want to exclude. For example, you could search for either of these “jaguar club -car” or “jaguar club -jcna.org” and get more results that have to do with the big cats.
4) You can find either/or.
Not everyone uses the same word to describe the same thing. How should you be describing yourself? Another way to filter your results is to use the operator “OR” to explore different terms. For example, you could search for “binge watching OR marathoning” and everyone who claims to spend as many hours as you do in front of the TV will be in your search results, no matter which term they use.
5) You can specify a range of prices or numbers.
Hey, maybe there are plenty of companies that do what you do. But can they do it at the same price? Compare rates really by searching for a range of numbers–because you don’t really know what your unknown competitor’s exact price is. Add two periods between the highest and lowest number you want to search for, and you’re golden (Ex: $20..$40 ring).
6) You can search a site.
Often when you’re doing research, you’ll come across something but will have a hard time finding it later. You know the article you’re looking for exists on a specific site, but their site search isn’t helpful. Add “site:” to your search query to restrict the results to their domain. Ex: “olympics site:nbc.org” or “olympics site:.gov”