Do You Know How to Google? Maybe Not.

Do You Know How to Google? Maybe Not.

by Kerry Scott on 16 August 2010

Last week I was talking with someone who wanted to search for something on my blog.  He was telling me that the search feature here sucks, and I said, “Yeah, but you can just google the site.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

So I explained.  I thought maybe he was just cluefree, but when I asked a couple of other people whether they knew this, they didn’t.  I guess it’s a secret.

So, here’s the secret:

If you want to search a site that either has a lousy search function or none at all, you can use Google.

  1. Go to the Google homepage.
  2. Type in site:[name of site] [keywords] For example, if you wanted to search for mentions of Glenbeulah on this site, you’d type in site:cluewagon.com Glenbeulah.

Behold!  Google has search the site you specified.  This won’t work on a big database site like Ancestry, but it works on blogs and static pages just fine.

If you already knew this, you get a gold star.  If you didn’t, try it.  I almost never use a site’s native search box, because I prefer the consistent results of doing it this way.

Photo by dullhunk

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Boland August 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

ooh, I’m going to tattoo this on my forearm.

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Diana Ritchie August 16, 2010 at 11:57 am

Wow – this is the best thing I’ve read today!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with the rest of us “clueless” people ;-)

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benotforgot August 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

I DO like this one . . . thanks for calling it to our attention . . . but I was surprised to find that this search –> site:benotforgot.com Mahala site:benotforgot.blogspot.com Mahala <– of the same blog yields about 66 hits . . . hmmm . . .

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Kerry Scott August 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

benotforgot—It looks like you have benotforgot.com redirecting to benotforgot.blogspot.com. Is that right? If so, I think that will screw up the results (which is one of the reasons I am not a fan of blogspot).

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Debbie August 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Also, you can download the Google toolbar and use the drop down menu to search the site you are on or to search on Google maps, books, or images. It will also highlight the search terms on the page or you can click on a certain word and go directly to that word. Great for finding surnames on a page.

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benotforgot August 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Yes, you are correct, Kerry, on the redirect . . . oh, well . . . thanks for the reply . . .

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Susan Tiner August 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I would like my gold star :-). You can also add a google search widget to your blog.

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Kerry Scott August 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Oh, do not get me started on the Google search widget. I spent about 10 hours trying to get that thing to work, and finally researched why it didn’t. It turns out that under certain circumstances, it just…doesn’t work. I like Google products in general, but not that one.

I am actually finding that there are quite a few Google tricks that are apparently not so widely known, so I might turn this into a series of some sort. Stay tuned.

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Charles August 17, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Kerry;

I just love that “Google Classic postcard.” Especially the “Please allow 30 days for search results.”

It shows my age; but I do remember when you had to make such inqueries (not Google, of course; but other things) and wait, and wait, and wait. We are spoiled today, aren’t we?

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Susan Tiner August 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

I just saw your tweet about subscribing to comments via email. I don’t mean to be a Luddite but could you explain how to do this? I don’t see how to sign up here.

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Kerry Scott August 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm

It varies depending on the platform, but on Clue Wagon, it’s a check box right by the comment window (i.e. the place where you type in your comment).

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Michelle Goodrum August 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Thanks Kerry. I’ve seen this search command before but keep forgetting about it…I need to tattoo it on my arm! This really is the best thing since sliced bread!

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George Farris March 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

Good Day Kerry:

As usual I truly enjoy your writing. At my age I’m a little slow on the uptake, so I found your secret search tip fascinating. Thanks for the clue-in. I’ll continue to look for more in the “Clue Wagon.”

Carefree in DC,
George

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