You learn how to use vertical engines to get specialized results. You see why it’s imperative to capture the so called long tail of search, and how predictive searches like Google Instant can be used as a tool to help you turn your site into a search magnet. The expert‐searcher skill set definitely complements your role as a search engine optimizer, so we’re devoting a whole chapter to it.
Using Advanced Search Operators
Search engines have come up with additional tools called advanced search operators to give power users even more control when searching. Advanced search operators are special terms that you can insert in your search query to find specific types of information that a general search can’t provide. Several of these operators provide useful tools for SEO experts as well as others who want very specific information or who want to restrict their search to very specific sources. These operators have a particular meaning to each of the different search engines, but not all engines accept the same operators.
You have numerous operators at your fingertips that can provide significant and useful information. If you use the operator by typing into the search box before the domain name, the search engine results tell you how many pages that particular domain and its sub‐domains contain, and lists those pages. Those results can also provide information on pages that have been indexed more than once, which in turn provides information regarding duplicate content. It also provides information about pages that are being dropped out of the search engines. You can see how powerful this can be for SEO
Combining operators for turbo‐powered searching
Whether you’re an SEO expert or just now gleaning the basics of the search engine optimization industry, you may often find that you need to combine some of the commands to pinpoint the information you need.
For example, say you want to determine how many pages on a site have a particular keyword phrase in their Title tag (one of the HTML tags contained in the HTML code that appears at the top of a web page). Because Title tags are weighted quite heavily in most search engines’ algorithms, this information would be very useful in your search engine optimization work. Fortunately, you can combine multiple search operators to find information such as keyword phrases in Title tags.
Searching for images
When you do search engine optimization, you want to know how to find specific types of files quickly. The vertical search engines and other file‐ type‐specific sites (such as YouTube for videos) can make your life easier when you’re looking for image files, video files, news articles, blog posts, or maps. And if you can find the specific file, you can be sure it has been indexed by the search engine.
Searching for videos
Videos are being used more and more inside websites. Sites like YouTube store millions of videos that can be watched by anyone, anywhere, on nearly any subject. You can search within these sites for videos, but you can also do a broader video search using a vertical search engine.
Searching for news
In the same way that you can run an image or video vertical search, you can click a News link on the major search engines near the search text box to find news articles. The search engines consider a news site to be a site that has multiple authors and frequent postings.
Searching with maps
We probably don’t need to say much about map searches because anyone who has ever needed directions has probably already used them. Online mapping is a fast‐moving industry for which the technology continues to advance at lightning speed. Companies spend a lot of money and time to improve their interactive maps because visual map tools attract visitors in droves. What’s good for you, though, is that maps are more than a tool for driving directions; they’re also a great way to perform a local search.