Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

Are Seos Better Searchers?


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 eKstreme

eKstreme

    Hall of Fame

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 3399 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:16 PM

Something I've been wondering about: us SEOs are (should be...) well-versed in the ways of search, adept at thinking of or finding relevant keywords, knowledgeable about advanced search operators, and would try another search engine in a blink if need be... at least theoretically for all of the above.

Are we better searchers? How do you rate yourself when it comes to finding things on the web? At work I have a bit of a reputation as "the one who finds stuff", and I do. Don't ask me how, but somehow I can hammer a query or two to get it there.

Another related question: do you use advanced search operators outside the SEO world? Have you ever done a linkdomain: or an inurl: or a site: search not for SEO? I have, and it's a great treat frankly. Examples: market landscaping is best done with linkdomain: to quickly figure out which companies are affiliated with each other and a site:.gov is good for medical searches to weed out all the spam and crap and get to real scientific data quickly.

So...? Discuss :)

Pierre

(This should fun! I'm looking forward to reading your replies :))

#2 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:46 PM

Better searchers, maybe. Different type of searchers: certainly.

I'm often impressed with the results search engines return for the type of searches some of my family members and friends perform. No wonder that paid ads do so well.

I love phrase searching "..." and filtering by using minus. Man, the crap you can get rid of that way :)

site: I often use when I need hard information and prefer to have results from edu only.

Overall I'm pretty happy with my search powers. Where they fail at times, though, is at recall. I know I saw this or that site via this or that search.... but whatever I do, I never see that site again :) Must say that Google Bookmarks and Google Web History makes that a bit easier though.

#3 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9018 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:15 PM

One thing I do before writing a blog post is to take the catchy title I have devised and check it out by searching both by Google BlogSearch and with the Google regular search. I can then avoid merely repeating what others have said, but make sure that I add something to the ongoing conversation. At the very least, it often gives me a few Related links I can add to the bottom of the post. This way I do catch any very recent pronouncements by anyone since Google Blogsearch is very up-to-the-minute.

I must admit I've now made Ask the default search engine I'm using in my toolbar. I'm quite intrigued at the results I'm getting.

#4 iamlost

iamlost

    The Wind Master

  • Site Administrators
  • 4633 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:46 PM

Are SEOs Better Searchers?

1. Define a SEO :)

2. If one simply takes the self-labeling at face value then NO. Far too many ask questions found by a simple obvious search. Indeed far too many query about and repeat obsolete or mythical practices.

3. Should they be better searchers? Absolutely. If one has limited ability utilising an application one must by definition have limited ability to game it's processes.

...do you use advanced search operators outside the SEO world?

1. I should like some proof of this hypothetical world outside SEO. Next you'll be raving about 'real' life? Or is that last a step too extreme? :)

2. My usage of 'advanced' features outside SEO:
* all SEs: I utilise '-[term]' extensively.
* Ask: I use 'intitle:[term(s)]' and 'last:[time period]' together a lot.
* I used to do more but am semi-retired - even from advanced operators ;)

Not mentioned but likely has a bearing on my light 'advanced' operators usage:
* I do 'quick' look-ups on Ask but still mostly use Ixquick Metasearch (habit :)) as my initial web research tool. Google is third choice.
* I also seem to be able to define search terms and refine as needed faster than many people. For 'everyday' searching that suffices.

#5 Jozian

Jozian

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 583 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:47 PM

re Ruud: but whatever I do, I never see that site again

LOL - been there myself

I think SEO's can be better searchers, but I don't think it is a given. I know that I rarely use the operators that Pierre notes above. But I do know lots of places to go for specific types of info -- I think my knowledge is more about where to go when Google doesn't cut the mustard.

I'll put in a pitch here for a public source software tool I continue to use: Daves' Quick Search. It puts a highly functional and configurable url bar on my Windows start bar. Here I do use a lot of built-in short cuts like 'ths apothecary' opens Thesaurus.com and sends it that word. 'ac 43035' gives me the local weather fast. I have custom ones to, so that 'joz' goes to my website, 'rot' goes to RottenTomatoes, and other keys get me to client sites fast.

I also access Google 'days since' and 'cache functionality' thru DQSD. I find it hard to operate without the little bugger, as it also allows me to arrow up to previous searches via a local history and to drag search terms into it from anywhere...

-Jeff

#6 Ron Carnell

Ron Carnell

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 2065 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 06:25 PM

I cut my teeth on Alta Vista; advanced operators were a given. I also taught seminars on Web Search to faculty at WMU circa 1998-2000, long before Google became a verb. Interestingly, about half the class was dedicated to specialized directories. I'm not even sure how many of them even still exist?

Yet, in spite of my on-going interest and past experience, hardly a day goes by when I fail to find what I want on the Internet. Don't get me wrong, I think I find a lot, but I'm also convinced there's a lot I don't find. Search has come a long way. It nonetheless still has a long way to go.

#7 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9018 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 06:50 PM

iamlost, I was intrigued to see your use of the ixquick Metasearch. That's one I hadn't seen before. I guess it's a way of avoiding Google if that's important to you. :)

#8 AbleReach

AbleReach

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 6467 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 07:11 PM

Are SEOs better searchers? YES.

And librarians, too! Another YES.

Librarians and SEOs rock the Casbah when it comes to finding and sorting information.

AND, it helps if that particular SEO or librarian is thinking in terms of the end user's needs. If not, you could search for answers and not resolve much of anything.

Sort of related example: I was in a store with a friend who is a brilliant engineer. Our families were camping together, some on grump-inspiring pads, some on air mattresses that had died the night before. We were looking at huge blowup air beds as replacements. He asked the salesperson for "the physical dimensions" of the air bed. Got a blank stare in return. Was befuddled and tried repeating himself. I asked "what size" she thought it was, after which she and I figured out that our tents were about as wide as a double bed, down to the approximate inches.

Edited by AbleReach, 23 October 2007 - 07:12 PM.


#9 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 23 October 2007 - 08:27 PM

I've been thinking the same, too, Pierre.

Though, as been mentioned, sometimes I just can't find what I seek (can't give an example, though).

I don't normally use operators, though I use quotes and - a lot. Sometimes, I just make the quiery very specific to find what I want (though it often doesn't give me what I want, too, showing me the limits of the Internet - or Google).

I suppose I need to confess that I use Google. Maybe I should try using Yahoo, or something. Just need to remember about it, when I do search again.

Sometimes, to find what you need, you just need to be creative. For example, I needed to decipher some industry-specific acronyms, but acronym finder didn't have them. So I searched for 'product acronym' and easily arrived at pages using the acronym and its full form. Next time when I need to decipher an acronym, I'll go this way, because it's faster, than using acronymfinder.com.

By the way, do you use any clever tricks that you have probably learned as SEOs, such as using the right words, specific phrases and long tail phrases? How else do you find stuff?

Edited by A.N.Onym, 23 October 2007 - 08:29 PM.


#10 eKstreme

eKstreme

    Hall of Fame

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 3399 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 02:57 AM

Wow. Very interesting thoughts in here! Thank you!

but whatever I do, I never see that site again :)

Me three ;) My fix: make it a habit to try to remember the titles of the interesting pages and look them up in Firefox's history. Set the number of days to cache to something like 10 days or more.

Barry: I never got used to Related Searches. Are they any good? Last time I tried it on eKstreme.com I got some really random "related" sites.

I should like some proof of this hypothetical world outside SEO. Next you'll be raving about 'real' life? Or is that last a step too extreme? ;)

Good pun ;) My 9-5 job is a consultant... GASP! It's a technical consulting job so I do a lot searching. And I mean a lot. If there is another job SEO prepares you for, it's what I do.

* I do 'quick' look-ups on Ask but still mostly use Ixquick Metasearch (habit :)) as my initial web research tool. Google is third choice.

Ooh, never tried Ixquick. I'm defaulting to Yahoo! and Live these days, and dipping into Hakia for really tough searches. Invariably, I quickly figure out the *real* terms I should be using.

Jozian: I wrote up a home-page script that manages my top links and put it on a password-protected website. I have access to it anywhere in the world and would feel so lost without it. Dave's toolbar looks interesting though so might just give it a try!

Ron: Try Hakia and ChaCha when you can't find stuff. Hakia is different because it's a real-language search. It can decipher what you really mean quite well. The index is a bit stale and has some spam in it still (it's beta) but dang does it hit the mark sometimes. ChaCha is great because you can ask other "guides" to do the searches for you. Sometimes I find it better to just describe something to someone and let them figure out what searches to do. Others I try sometimes are Clusty, Ask, and specific vertical SEs as necessary.

I suppose I need to confess that I use Google. Maybe I should try using Yahoo, or something. Just need to remember about it, when I do search again.

Set the browser's default SE to be whatever you want. I suggest Yahoo! for now, and also have Live too. In FF, the shortcut is Ctrl-K to focus the search field and Ctrl+up or down to scroll through the available SE options.

By the way, do you use any clever tricks that you have probably learned as SEOs, such as using the right words, specific phrases and long tail phrases? How else do you find stuff?

AND, it helps if that particular SEO or librarian is thinking in terms of the end user's needs. If not, you could search for answers and not resolve much of anything.

Yes and yes. My favorite trick is to use AdWords keyword selection tool to figure out what's important in a subject. So when we get a new project, I experiment a bit with some keywords I think are relevant and build out from there using AdWords' tool. This gives a very high level overview of the subject and helps frame further work.

Another trick: thesaurus.reference.com is your friend. Seriously!

And I mentioned the site:.gov for medical searches trick. Very handy.

What are you tricks?

Pierre

#11 JohnMu

JohnMu

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3518 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:07 AM

The more content that is online, the harder searching and finding things seems to get. In the last years I think it has changed a bit from finding lots of spam and pearls to finding lots of mediocre stuff and a few pearls. I suppose that is a good change, but I'd prefer to just have the pearls :).

Anyway, I also use the "-" exclusion operators alot as well as the site: and inurl: operators to get closer to things that I really want. Often I'll know that what I want is on some domain, but I just can't find it there, that's when the site:-operator comes in handy.

John

#12 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 07:39 AM

I used related: stuff in Google a bit and it returned really relevant results. Scary similar stuff, in fact.

#13 Jozian

Jozian

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 583 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:03 AM

I thought of another operator that I do use - the Google face recognition switch.

This example (grabbed elsewhere) shows it works well for finding faces http://images.google...mp;imgtype=face.

Great for when you are trying to find a pic of a person.

Pierre: I dont use Adwords as much as I might, but I think that is exactly the logic I use when initial searches fail -- I think up and down the tree of related terms trying to find something unique that might hit. And when the brain fails, I do go to the thesaurus.

re ChaCha - glad to hear you like it Pierre. We've been reworking the ChaCha Guide pool and expanding access ideas. I'm really excited about the value human brainpowower can bring to search - when it is optimized within a knowledge framework.

Let me add a question here, related to Pierre's orignal one, that I have been chewing on: How teachable is search? Techniques are teachable. Knowledge of where to look is teachable. But what percent of good search skills are limited by intelligence?, the ability to intuit intent and gist meaning?, and ability to find paths around search roadblocks?

-Jeff

Edited by Jozian, 24 October 2007 - 10:04 AM.


#14 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9018 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:50 AM

I had not been using History before and that's a really useful feature if all else fails in finding something you've visited before. In Firefox, you can even put History in a left sidebar. One question on that: the sidebar only shows 6 days even though in the Options I set the caches to 12 days. Does anyone know how to display (or even view) the full 12 days links?

#15 eKstreme

eKstreme

    Hall of Fame

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 3399 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:53 AM

Barry: on mine it has the past 6 days individually followed by an entry called "Older than 6 days". I do have Enhanced History Manager installed though, so this could be an add-on feature instead of being built-in.

Pierre

#16 kulpreet_singh

kulpreet_singh

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 438 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:57 PM

I think as Elizabeth said, librarians, and also researchers in general, like to figure out how searches work and then optimize their results within the confines of the technology they have.

I really like researching specific topics, and I happen to also be a search professional, so it's double fun for me.

However, what annoys me - or maybe what I'm spoiled with - is certain applications (*cough*Facebook) not having the common search options that most search engines have.

Jeff - in response to your question.. I would say that type of intuition is caused by experience, which can't be taught. However most techniques and tips would help someone to get experience and then start to develop their own strategies. Of course these are most relevant to people who do research for articles, essays, etc.

Ask a student how he/she searches. Sometimes they have to write papers on very specific topics with sources, and they might develop the techniques to get the best possible searches.

As mentioned in Kim's recent podcast, people suffering from cancer or having family members in that situation, might use websites (and especially search engines) to find guidance, support, or case studies - when that kind of pressure is on you, sometimes you are nervous, but many times you think more strategically to find the right information.

Edited by kulpreet_singh, 24 October 2007 - 02:00 PM.


#17 BizDevMarketing

BizDevMarketing

    Ready To Fly Member

  • Members
  • 26 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:09 PM

I think successful searches are in part a result of the brain's habituation function over time.
After enough exposure to searches/SERPS, people learn what works and what doesn't. (I personally usually find the result I'm looking for in a search or two using longer phrases.)

#18 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9018 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:19 PM

Hi Pierre

I installed the Enhanced History Manager Firefox extension, but still have the oldest folder being 6 days ago. I don't find that extension does much for me. :)

#19 eKstreme

eKstreme

    Hall of Fame

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 3399 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:37 PM

Hey Barry

On another FF installation, I don't have the extension installed and I still have the Older than 6 Days option. Maybe it's a later FF versions thing? I always have the latest one installed and I know I've had it for a while.

Jeff: I think searching can be taught, like anything in life. A cliche analogy: give a paint brush to people and they will all draw something somewhat resembling something in life. But once in a while, a person will hold a paintbrush and paint the Mona Lisa or water lillies (go Monet :disco2: ). It's a distribution like most other things in life.

I think successful searches are in part a result of the brain's habituation function over time.
After enough exposure to searches/SERPS, people learn what works and what doesn't.

That's not habituation you're talking about, but neuroplasticity. Habituation is the decrease in response to a stimulus over time, like ignoring the scratching of a wrist watch or noise ignored and becomes "background". Plasticity is part of learning where the brain re-wires itself.

(I personally usually find the result I'm looking for in a search or two using longer phrases.)

That's a key tactic. One point I always make to people who ask me is tell them to imagine their data. Imagine what they're looking for and how they would go about publishing it. This creates a set of modifiers like [table] or [chart] or [map] that are not part of the common set of search modifiers like [free] and [how to].

Pierre

#20 JohnMu

JohnMu

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3518 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 05:42 PM

One thing I have noticed is that I very quickly give up with site-navigation (on larger sites) if I can't find what I'm looking for (and know that it's there, somewhere....). Often times even the built-in site search will not help me to find whatever it is. Instead of clicking all categories, paging around, etc. I prefer to just go to a "global" search engine and search with a site:-query instead.

Is that normal? :) Perhaps I'm just too impatient with site-navigation and not satisfied with the results of site-search...

John

#21 iamlost

iamlost

    The Wind Master

  • Site Administrators
  • 4633 posts

Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:49 PM

I prefer to just go to a "global" search engine...
...
Perhaps I'm just too impatient with site-navigation and not satisfied with the results of site-search...

Do we need more than one (1) guess as to which "g*" SE that would be? :)

Actually I do much the same (an exact match might require a different SE identifier :ph34r:) as I find most sites past a couple hundred pages lose navigation integrity and almost all site internal search a lost cause.

The ignorance, incompetence, and parsimony of web management must be among the 'global' search engines greatest assets. :)



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users