Searching a web site
If you know which site you want to search, Google’s site command is a wonderful time saver that often cuts two or three steps out of the search process, helping you find what you need more quickly. It’s particularly useful when you remember seeing something on a site, and want to go straight to that article. Here are a few examples of how I use it:
Searching Japan Probe
Japanprobe.com has a lot of posts about the nation’s favorite chimpanzee, Pan-kun. So if you are looking for those, you could either wade through the “Animal videos” category, or use JapanProbe’s own search box… if you can find it. 😉
A quicker way would be to fire up Google and type:
What this does is limit your search to pages from the site, JapanProbe.com, containing the word “pan-kun”. Note that there’s no space after the colon.
Searching Dave’s ESL Cafe
I believe Dave’s ESL Cafe is the biggest ESL site on the net, and its forums are loaded with rants and raves about teaching English. With such a huge site, Google’s special syntax comes in very handy. Let’s say you were looking for discussion about the textbook, New Interchange, this would save you a lot of time:
site:eslcafe.com "New Interchange" textbook
That search will only return pages from eslcafe.com which contain both the phrase “New Interchange” and the word “textbook”.
Searching Tokyo Times
Every blog seems to have a different way of displaying search results. For example, I’ve set up this blog to show 30 summaries per page that match your search term. Tokyo Times on the other hand gives you five full articles. That’s great if you want to read recent posts on the topic you are searching for, but if you’re trying to find something buried in the archives, it could take you a while… unless:
site:tokyotimes.org "Hello Kitty"
This has to be the best way to get to all of the “Hello Kitty” posts on Tokyo Times (if you have that urge). Note: Make sure you know whether the site is a .com, .net, .org. or whatever, otherwise you’ll be searching the wrong site!
Searching What Japan Thinks
What Japan Thinks is the complete resource for Japanese opinion polls in English, and if any site could benefit from a search box it would be this one. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one on the site itself, which is why Google’s special syntax for searching specific sites is so handy:
That should tell you what Japan thinks about Apple’s button-less cell phone.
Exploring sites further
The above examples should give you some ideas about how the site command can help you speed up your searches. For more power at your fingertips, combine it with what you’ve learned in the rest of this series and you’ll be able to track down almost anything!
Next: Lesson #9 – FeaturesIf you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!