With more than 90% market share in Europe, Google is our favorite tool when it comes to searching the Internet. But do we really know how to use it? I will try to share with you some Google commands as well as some tips to optimize your use of the search engine.
1) How to find related websites with Google?
This command has an interest when you are looking for new sources for your strategic monitoring. It will allow you to find other sites and contents that are related to a site that you have chosen.
For example, students of our Advanced Master’s in Digital Business Strategy can be proud of that, in the eyes of Google, our management school is the most related one to EM Lyon and HEC Paris… we hope recruiters think the same!
2) How to find free-to-use images on Google?
Just make your search on Google image, then click on “Tools” and then on “Usage rights”.
3) How to depersonalize a Google request?
Google customizes its results page based on our browsing history and Google+ profile. To depersonalize the query, simply log out of Google+ and add “&pws=0” at the end of the url. This command is unofficial and to be sure that the results are depersonalized, I advise to use the private navigation (Ctrl + Shift + P on Firefox and Internet Explorer or Ctrl + Shift + N on Google Chrome). Geolocation will always be considered.
The interest of this command is mainly SEO oriented because it allows you to see the results of a query as if it were the first time you were searching for it. Therefore, it is easy to follow its real positions on different keywords.
4) How to get more accurate Google Search Results?
This command isolates all indexed pages from a site on Google. It also allows you to track the indexing of a specific page. It is only useful for SEO if used alone.
For example, our Digital Me Up blog has 544 pages indexed in Google..
..with 70 “author” pages.
However, it seems that the Googlebot does not crawl the site often enough. The article of Laurent Hélaine, published on the 27th January is still not indexed 3 days later. No organic traffic is therefore possible!
This command returns all the results indexed by Google that contain the search term in the content of the page. To search for an exact term, it must be surrounded by quotation marks (intext:”exact term” for example).
It will help you to find a presentation / thesis on a particular format on a given topic. You can specify different formats: PDF, DOC (for Word), XLS (for Excel), TXT (for text pages), PPT (for PowerPoint) etc.
Let’s imagine that you have a headache. You would like to know more about what you need to do but you don’t want to be distressed by what you could read on Doctissimo. With the “-” sign, you can exclude all terms that you don’t want to appear in the results page: “headache -doctissimo”.
The real interest is that you can combine all these commands to get more accurate Google results. Here is an example – I’m looking for pdf documents about innovation on the grenoble-em.com website.
There are a lot of other commands that can help you to better use Google. A few of them are listed on an official Google documentation but in my opinion, the most important and useful are in this article.
As a candidate for a job, or for business development, I sometimes use these commands to find the email address of a professional I want to be in touch with. I’m not going to say how; it would be too easy. Just a little practice and a rereading of this article and you will find the way yourself!
Google recently increased the number of queries with a Google Answer Box. This location is also called position 0 in SEO and it is displayed for 30% of queries versus only 20% two years ago. This is a zone with a specific display format that offers users an answer or a definition of the term that has been sought.
The Answer Box greatly improves the user experience since the number of clicks needed to access the information is reduced. Google is no longer positioning itself as a search engine but as a response engine and it could be a problem for digital companies. For example: because of that access to the website is no longer necessary to get the information, Wikipedia suffered a loss of traffic. However, this feature can be a very good opportunity in terms of branding and organic traffic.
It is important to know that the result displayed in position 0 is not necessarily from the website displayed at the 1st position of the search engine results page (it can happen). Therefore, how to optimize a content to appear in the Answer Box?
How to optimize your site for the featured snippet ?
There is no official recommendation from Google about that topic…
… but a few analyses show that there are some characteristics shared by all websites and pages appearing in position 0. For example: the page is part of the 5 first SEO results on the query; it contains less than 2000 words and the site has a lot of backlinks & referrer (>1000).
1. Find Google Answer Box opportunities
There are two ways to identifying opportunities to appear in featured snippets:
The first one is to imagine questions people can ask about your activity and optimize your page for the answer. There are tools like answerthepublic to find questions that people are asking about a topic.
The different formulations that trigger the Answer Box are:
- what is…?
- what does… mean?
- definition of…
The second way is to find queries that already display a snippet featured in the search results but it will be more difficult to rank as Google has already decided that a content is reliable to be used in the Answer Box.
2. Optimize and structure the content to answer the question
It is important to write a content that clearly answers the question in approximately 250-350 characters which seems to be appropriate to that kind of display format.
- Google is searching for content that you can read as a response. If you want to place a site as a featured snippet on the query “what does -myword- mean?”, you should include at the top of the page a sentence beginning with “-myword- means…”.
- Use the search query in the title of the page: <title> What does -myword- mean? A definition of -myword-</ Title> for example. As in SEO in general, Google uses the title tag to know if the page will answer the question.
- Place the main keyword in your <H1> tag.
- Subtitles (<H2>) can be extracted and displayed in featured snippets. This is particularly the case when the request is about how to learn a process or for an answer that can be summarized in a list. If you are targeting this type of search, write your content with different <H2> subtitles <H2> that explicitly define each step.
- If you are targeting a “what is” question, write your answer in a </ p>.
3. Use semantic markup to appear as a reliable source
For example, you can use the rel = “author” tag in your code. Your content will be associated with your name and you may appear as a credible source if you are specialized and if you are writing often about the same subject. You can use Google search console to test your structured data.
As always, there are no secrets in SEO!
Everyone is fighting for the first place and the Google Answer Box still relatively new. This is an opportunity to place a website higher than the top – in the zero position! As usual with SEO, there is no good answer, you have to test and learn, and to write high quality contents that provide relevant answers.
The Google Analytics Suite 360 takes shape with the availability of Data Studio in France and the announcement of a free version of Optimize.
Google Data Studio is now available in France
The Google Analytics team is now investigating the subject of consolidating and visualizing data. Accessible since this summer in the United States, Data Studio is launched since September the 28th in France ; both its free version (limited to 5 different reports) and its paid version of Data Studio 360. This data visualization oriented reporting tool expands the possibilities by providing aggregate data from multiple APIs and data sources such as :
• Google Adwords,
• Google Analytics,
• Google BigQuery, MySQL and Google Cloud SQL,
• Youtube Analytics
• Google Sheet (usable as an intermediate destination to export any other data source).
Once the data is aggregated and processed by connectors, it is possible to use it in one or more reports : this architecture is the guarantee of the data’s consistency presented to end users.
Google provides a set of reports template which designs clearly highlight the data value. The reports’ construction is very similar to other tools of the Google Drive suite (particularly Google Sheet). The reporting interface is built, among others, with blocks of tables or charts that you can position and customise very intuitively.
Another strong point of Google Data Studio is that all reports are dynamic. In the template below, the change of the analysis period is made directly from the interface, up to the choice of the end user.
On the maps or on the graphs, data can be animating with the movement of the mouse. This gives a fun aspect to data visualization. For more details: here is the official data studio documentation link.
Optimize, Optimize free Google 360
Another good news is the upcoming availability of Optimize, the free variation of Optimize 360 which is the premium version currently available in beta test. Optimize 360, which has been announced in spring 2016, is a all-in-one personalization tools developed to improve user’s experience.
Google Optimize is supposed to enable the marketing department to create and easily deploy a multitude of targeted adjustments on a website (content, block position) by using A/B testing, multivariate testing or personalization. Here is a few strengths related to the product :
• deploying Optimize from Google Tag Manager or as a plugin in Google Analytics Universal by using an asynchronous tag is really simple,
• the solution is fully integrated to data collected by Google Analytics, there is a real synergy and consistency in targeting an audience as in evaluating the performance of a deployed test. By using the Google 360 suite, there are no more contradictions between tools,
• access and roles are secure based on the quality of the Google infrastructure.
Until September the 28th, beta access was restricted and you had to pay for it. A recent post on the google analytics official blog announced that a free version will gradually be accessible to those who request it on this form.
Optimize integrates reporting to measure the performance of each test.
Google has not release more details about the differences in functionality between Optimize 360 and Optimize in its free version. This information will be published shortly.
With these free versions of Optimize and Data Studio, Google want to democratize the use of A/B testing and reporting for both very small as big web players. It could also give visibility to all Google Analytics 360 Suite which is the successor of Google Analytics Premium.
Other new features in the Google Analytics 360 suite
Besides the imminent launch of Google Optimize and immediate availability of Data Studio in France, Google announced a new functionality in Google Analytics : Session Quality Score. The Mountain View firm will use machine learning to identify good and bad sessions on websites ; hence, it will be possible to analyze results more accurately. The functionality will be deployed shortly. Google Tag Manager was also improved and became compatible with 20 additional sites like Twitter, Quantcast, Nielsen or Microsoft Bing.