Here are a few little tricks you can do to customize or filter Google results. These 4 are clutch tricks for me. I end up using these more than most other tricks in my arsenal (oh, there are plenty…):
Enter -site: to remove sites from the SERPs: If you’re looking for competitors for a popular product, and keep seeing the big players, comparison shopping engines or affiliates, and would like to get a better feel for the other players in the landscape, this trick works well.To see this work, search for a key phrase like Wilson Official NCAA Football. You may see sites like Amazon.com, Nextag.com, and Bizrate.Try the search again like this -site:www.amazon.com -site:www.nextag.com -site:www.bizrate.com Wilson Official NCAA Football. See the difference? There are several ways you can use this iltering for your competitive education.
Discover related keywords: Google has the ability to show pages with keywords related to the actual keywords you searched. They’ll do this when their algorithms suggest it’s a better result. To get a feeling of what keywords variation Google is thinking about, at a tilda (~) to the query. For example, Google ~sofa. At the very least this can inspire your keyword research.
Find File Types in a site: Doing a quick audit and want to see if a site is using a particular file type (like Flash)? This will give you some insight: site:www.nike.com filetype:swf
Figure out where those indented links really rank: Today a Google search (on my computer) for Frank Zappa will show you Zappa.com with an indented link for Zappa.com/whatsnew in the #2 position. Indented links are pages from the same domain that can show up anywhere in the bracket of 10 results, except Google groups them together for user value. In other words, although Zappa.com/whatsnew is ranked at #2, it’s not really the second result. It could be the fifth, or the seventh, or the tenth.When working towards SERP domination, it’s important to know exactly where all the pages lie so you have a better idea of who you need to beat. Add &num=x to the end of the Google search query URL, where “x” is a number less than 10 (remember – without using Advanced Search, there are only 10 true listings in natural results on any given SERP). Keep experimenting with lower numbers for “x” until the indented link is gone. Once it’s gone, you’ll be able to surmise where the actual position of the listing.
Sphinn.com is dropping its voting (ala Digg) system for a new editor controlled model. Sounds like there has been lower engagement than in past years, likely leaving a larger percentage of the activity to spammers and voting mobs. It will be interesting to see if the full-on editor model will be better than the group voting model. I wouldn’t think it would be, but then again…
> Others complain that someone else seems to “win” all the time.
Although I don’t think I ever typed those words on the web, I have to agree. It’s why I bailed a year ago. I loved the idea that marketers would decide what is the most valuable content in our industry, but after seeing what constantly got voted up (opposed to routinely greater stuff that didn’t get any votes – yes, I was one of the people who went deeper into the site), I just stopped believing that it had the same value for me that I originally thought it had.
Note… I said, “for me.” This is totally my opinion. But in the end, it just felt like anything a Sphinn rock star would submit would sky rocket. Even if there were dupe submissions. I’m all for the authority of a rock star Sphinner, but there’s no way the dupe submissions weren’t getting any traction if they were equally as good. It just meant too many readers stuck to a tiny slipstream of submissions and embrace the whole site.
Readers will still be able to submit articles. But editors (who actually always had the ability to control things anyway despite the votes – hey, sounds like American Idol!) will play a bigger role. Sounds a lot like YouMoz, come to think of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very sad the “people” thing didn’t work. I haven’t given up on social communities though… just maybe that one. But I’m definitely interested in giving Sphinn another look when its “under new management” so to speak.