The most widely used search engine in the world has search tools that are not well known, and hardly ever used. Small businesses are not taking advantage of these incredible tools, and it's time for change. These search tools can benefit the everyday searcher or the everyday website owner in helping them figure out how Google really sees their site.
Go to Google.com and type anything in the search bar. You’ll see below the search bar, a navigation tab that says “Search Tools.”
Once you click on the search tools tab, 3 new drop downs appear below the navigation tabs.
One tab will show your current location, while the second and third will give you filtering and sorting options by date and content type. Using these advanced search queries, filtering, and sorting selections, will narrow your search down to the perfect result.
Location is by far one of the most important tools to use when you’re a website owner, or a search engine marketer. Location is important because Google has given more weight in past algorithm updates to websites that are near the searchers IP address. Website owners might discover in their analytics, keywords that they know they’re not ranking for. Often this is caused by a website ranking in a few cities that might be by their headquarters or other addresses listed on the site.
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When ranking for keywords in only certain locations, it’s vital to check where your domain is registered or where the business locations are on the contact page. By adding cities or pages that go over the locations you serve, there’s a very good chance that you will see organic traffic increase for that keyword.
By not using this tool search engine marketers are making a big mistake. Check to see how your website is ranking in locations all around the world. Notice the next time Google changes their algorithm; your traffic may change dramatically because rankings in different cities went up or down, even though you rank number one at home. Google is recognizing that a local search result has a higher chance of satisfying the appetite of their searcher.
Google’s Reading Level Tool
This might be the most underrated tool Google has built into their engine. If you click on the ‘all results’ drop down menu under search tools, then click on ‘Reading Level’, Google will show you what they think the writing/reading level of each search result is.
In the image above you can see that by typing into the search bar the advanced query tool ‘Site: (than the website)’ you can see how Google views the reading level of the content on your website. In this example you can see that 94% of the pages on Harvard’s website is considered advanced.
This is not an important ranking factor but it will help you understand how Google sees your content.
If your target audience is directed at educators, or professionals that feed off of advanced content, this tool will help you recognize changes needing to be made on your website.
Here are some ideas on how to go from basic or intermediate content to advanced content:
- Add more professional jargon.
- Use more advanced vocabulary.
- Increase the quality of the writing by using more punctuations and better grammar.
- Proofread all content before it is published.
- Increase the length of the content. Increased length is of higher quality in the eyes of Google.
- Reference or cite professional and well branded organizations in the industry.
- Keep formatting on pages professional.
- Provide relevant content to the topic.
- Use videos, or images to explain your words on the page.
Any of the tactics just mentioned will help increase the value of your website as well as the marketing of your website overall.
The Dictionary Tool
By searching for a word, clicking on ‘search tools’ then the ‘all results’ drop down, you’ll see the dictionary tool. If you’re a webmaster you have a great content opportunity here. By having more pages with definitions you will bring in more natural organic search traffic, especially if you follow the guidelines set by seomoz on how to rank with google definitions. With over two trillion searches a year, many of the searches are people looking for the definitions for the words you understand the best.
By using the dictionary tool, Google will show the dictionary html tags for the keyword that is searched.
This tool is perfect when doing research. In the past, to look up a word meant you needed a dictionary or encyclopedia. The miracle of this tool is you can cross reference dictionaries and actually see how each dictionary site interprets the keyword. It might shock you on how many words are defined completely different from dictionary to dictionary. This tool is pretty incredible when you really think about how quick we can find and compare different definitions.
The Time Tool
Fresh cookies taste better than old crusty cookies, however there are people that love those old cookies, and that’s the beauty of the time tool. The time tool is an incredible time machine Google has built to help us go back in time and see the old articles, or the newest articles only that have been crawled and published within the last hour.
The time tool is one way to see when Google indexes your content. If you notice it takes more than 5 days for one of your blog articles to be indexed, you have a problem and you need to start pumping out more content.
Looking at the news the time tool is very helpful. You might see articles from a week ago ranking towards the top, but as you adjust the time tool, the results will change. You often see articles only minutes old giving you fresh great tasting cookies (information). Major news websites are constantly being crawled and within a few minutes of an article being published, Google will have it indexed and ready to go for you. Google knows that people want the freshest news and that’s why they have the time filter.
Knowing and understanding how to search for information and find information is a great skill. It will benefit you in whatever profession you’re in. Google search tools can help you understand your website or any website. Play around with these tools; become familiar with them, they will make your life easier.
Key points to Remember
If you’re a webmaster, understand the search tools to better understand your website.
Location is a big factor with certain keywords in ranking. Use the location tool to see how your site it performing in other cities.
The reading level tool will show you the reading level of the content on websites.
The dictionary tool is a will help you know the definition of a word.
Adding more definitions on your website can increase organic search traffic.
The Time tool is the perfect content time machine.