Google Speed Search Lesson #8 – Site:

This is part eight of my Google Speed-Search series. In the last lesson, I showed you some of Google’s special syntax. This time, I’ll continue that theme with the site: syntax element.

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:

site:japanprobe.com pan-kun

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:

site:whatjapanthinks.com iPhone

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 – Features

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

6 thoughts on “Google Speed Search Lesson #8 – Site:

  1. I do have a site search! However, it is a bit hidden, I suppose! It appears after the third post in index pages and before the comments on a single post page.

    Perhaps that’s a good tip for me to make it a bit more noticable – I only get about 12 searches per day on average, so I wonder what would happen if I placed it somewhere easier to find?

      1. I think the idea was that after looking at two or three stories I thought someone might want to do a search to find what they are after.

        The Google search box is just too big to fit in the sidebar, unfortunately.

        1. What about leaving it where it is, but putting an internal link to it in the sidebar? That way, when someone clicks “Search” in your sidebar, the page jumps down to the search box. Just a thought.

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