As a marketer, understanding how to use Google is essential. The algorithm to improve a website’s SEO is made transparent, but that doesn’t always make it easy to work with. There are other elements that also contribute to how your website ranks on search engines, and when it comes to Google, these are the top 10 hidden elements that all marketers need to know.
Advanced Search Functions: Boolean Operators
Most people use Google at least 3 times every day. The search engine is so ubiquitous it’s a verb. But what many people don’t know is that there are advanced search functions that make using the tool faster, easier, and more accurate. And for marketers, this is where real SEO lies.
There are 4 main advanced search functions that you should know to make the most of the search engine as a user, and a marketer.
Search Social Media Profiles and Mentions
When searching for your business profile, social media channel, or mentions, adding @ to the search, followed by the handle, will yield better quality results than searching for the name alone. Google will compile results, including web pages and tweets.
Searches can be narrowed by typing terms followed by the site you want to search, such as LinkedIn. Results would show the relevant account, mentions of the account, and accounts using similar handles or by people or businesses with the same name.
This can help you isolate mentions of competitors or brands, as well as learn more about how a brand is performing.
Access a Site’s Cache
Checking your website cache is a valuable source of information. It shows how frequently your site is crawled and informs you about any pages that are down. It is also very useful if you need to access a saved version of your website. To access the saved version, enter ‘cache:’ before a site’s URL. The copy you see will be the most recent saved copy. Within the cached copy, you can view the full version, text-only version, or view source, and there will be a timestamp and snapshot taken by Google.
Just Add ‘Related’
Adding ‘related:’ to your search terms lets you include similar or identical topics in your search results. While it can broaden your search it also allows you to see results in the same thematic area. This feature can help you learn more about your competitors in business. The related search function shows business type, content, and category of vendors offering products and services in that search paradigm. It makes researching competitors’ search ranking, social strategy, and other marketing faster and easier.
Search for Hashtags
Use the # symbol to aggregate hashtag results, including the social presence associated with the words or phrases. For example, if you search #cryptocurrency and change the search date to the past 24 hours under ‘Tools,’ the search will reveal the most recent posts on social media channels discussing cryptocurrency. You can narrow the search results by changing the result type to verbatim using quotation marks, you’ll see only exclusive results using the hashtag: “#cryptocurrency”. Marketers can see which keywords align with a brand message and examine how competitors use social media.
Enable Search Within Websites
If a website doesn’t include a search function, you can use Google instead. You can search a website’s content for a specific query by using ‘:[website]’ at the beginning of your search. The results will show hits from that particular site rather than the whole web.
See Your Bounce Rate
Bounce rates are an important measure of how effective your website is at connecting with audiences. Google has this metric available for you to see, and to understand what a high bounce rate might mean.
Lowering your bounce rate by improving your website is easier than you might think. There are a few key things to look at that will improve your traffic retention rates.
- Improve Content Readability
Be sure that your website layout is easy to read. Blocks of written content tend to drive people away. Trafic wants fast-to-read content that can be browsed and absorbed easily when doing initial research. You can improve your landing pages with layouts that:
- Include images
- Have headings, slammers, and subheadings
- Direct attention with keywords
- Use bullet points
- Include graphs or infographics
- Write Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that explain what is likely to be found on a given page. These descriptions are used by search engines to determine what a page is about.
Meta descriptions should be 155 characters. If you exceed the character limit an ellipsis (…) appears at the end of the description, which can encourage traffic to bounce. Use relevant keywords in your meta description and stick to the character limit to make the most of the tool.
- Use Interactive Content
Interactive content invites traffic to stop and pay attention to something that is different, fun, engaging, or otherwise of value to your traffic. Interactive content like videos, podcasts, infographics, eBooks, lookbooks, quizzes, and checklists invite and maintain engagement.
Google Publishes SEO Guides
Google releases its own SEO guides so you can learn how to make the most of the search engine for your marketing campaign. How you use the tools and at what level you need to engage with each of them will depend on many factors, such as your industry, competition, and brand awareness. These guides cover all the technical details that you need to know to succeed in a Google search.
Get Directions Directly From the Search Bar
You can get directions to any location from the search bar by typing ‘directions to [destination] from [location]’ into the search bar, and Google gives directions the same way as it does on maps. You can select directions by public transport, car, cycling or walking.
Google updates its algorithms countless times each year. These updates change how pages display in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and can impact your search visibility. According to Google, it plans to remove all third-party cookies from its engine. Cookies are understood as a threat, and while they have in the past been a marketer’s best friend, they are now subject to many restrictions in many regions. This is only one change, there are many other updates that keep marketers busy updating sites to stay ahead on SEO updates.
Google Holds Secret Conferences
Google hosts an annual event dubbed Google Camp every summer. The camp is a collaboration of some of the most influential and powerful people in the world who discuss humanitarian issues like global warming and education. The event is highly exclusive and expensive and is a meeting of the minds of many of the world’s most wealthy and powerful people.
Google has Easter Eggs
From solitaire to a heart-shaped graph function, Google is packed with Easter eggs to make research fun.
- Coin Flip
Enter ‘flip a coin’ into the Google search bar and toss a coin to answer your 50/50 questions.
- Animal Sounds
Enter ‘animal sounds’ into the search bar and turn your office into a menagerie of fun and exotic animal sounds.
- Tic Tac Toe
Play a game of X’s and O’s by entering the term ‘tic tac toe’ into the search bar, and compete against Google AI in a rainy day favorite game.
Search for Movies, Books, and News
Reduce search parameters by entering the medium you’re searching for. To use the functionality, click the menu item entitled ‘More’, select books, news, or movies, and remove any other search items that could detract from your search goals.
Define Your Number of Search Results
To view more search results than those that show on the first page, select ‘Settings’ below the right-hand of your search bar on the results page. From here, you can adjust the number of search results that appear.
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