29 things: how to use Google for fun and profit

It made sense to condense  a number of points I made into one posting. The key thing that ties them all together is Google.

  • How to set up Google Alerts
  • How to do some advanced searches such as phrase matches, Boolean search terms, and site-specific searches
  • How to conduct research efficiently and effectively using online tools (Google being an important, but not exclusive point-of-reference)
  • How to buy an ad on Google Adwords (I’ll also do facebook as well)

How to set up Google Alerts

  • Go to Google.com/alerts
  • Write in your search term
  • Select your source: comprehensive (basically everything), news, blogs, web, video or groups
  • Select how often: as it comes (best for reputation monitoring), once-a-day and once-a-week
  • Select the number of results: I recommend going for the maximum 50 results
  • Deliver to: your email address which is a registered email address or an RSS feed

How to do some advanced searches such as phrase matches, Boolean search terms, and site-specific searches

  • An exact phrase should be searched for by putting it in quote marks“” for instance: “Ged Carroll”
  • You can exclude terms using a minus sign – here’s one we created earlier: “Ged Carroll” -Yahoo
  • If you have a search term that could be done in a number of different ways, for instance looking for a film, maybe also be a movie or a motion picture. So searching for similar words can be done using a tilde sign ~, using the example of films again:  ~movie gives cinema showtimes and DVDs in the first SERP (search engine results page)
  • Rather than doing two separate searches, you can look for either or. Here is one I prepared earlier: “Ged Carroll” or “renaissance chambara”
  • If you know the site that the materials should be on, but you can’t find them (like a technical support information). With this in mind site specific search comes in handy via site: for example –  site:microsoft.com “Office 2008”
  • Rather than looking at information on a website, it is often handy to find which sites already link into a site of interest. The link: command allows you to do this – link:renaissancechambara.jp

How to conduct research efficiently and effectively using online tools (Google being an important, but not exclusive point-of-reference)

Work out what it is that you want to research. This will affect your search strategy: where to go for information:

  • Search engines (Google, Ask)
  • Metasearch engines: doing several search engines at once; my favourite is DogPile
  • Subject gateways: Scirus for academic scientific papers, Google Scholar for academic content, Medipedia or healthcare-related issues

One site that I like, but falls between search engines and subject gateways is the The Libarians Index to the Web.

Start off your search using a simple phrase on a metasearch engine. This should give you a good steer and help surface any alternative search terms that may be useful.

Refine your search on your search engine of choice: there are some advice points for Google earlier in this article.

There may not be an answer for what you are looking for, but the web search is likely to surface email lists and forums that you can join and get help from.

How to buy an ad on Google Adwords (It’ll also do facebook as well)

  • Get yourself a Google account (your Google Mail | Gmail email address)
  • Start thinking about keywords – that is the words people use to search. What language do you want your ads to run against? What locations do you want it to run in? In the case of Facebook you can target specific employers. I recently ran a campaign aimed at employees of Panasonic. Google has a couple of really useful tools for key word suggestion
  • Set a price – your local currency, how much you are prepared to spend a day and the maximum CPC (cost-per-click). Google’s keyword tool can provide some guidance on the typical bid values for different words

Posts in this series

29 things: the basics of how to record audio

29 things: how Wikipedia works and how to get involved in the process of having a post changed

29 things: how to tweet

29 Things: Understand the nature of conversations and their appropriateness for your client

29 things: how to use Google for fun and profit

29 things: how to use an RSS reader

29 things: how to organise a PR account

29 things: how to embed pictures and video

29 things: how to create a link

29 things: how to touch-type

29 things: how to manage your communications platform

29 things for PR people

This was the post that started it all: 29 not-very-technical things that every PR person should know

Comments are closed.