Tagged: Google

Launching WritingWorkbooks.com

Since I wrote about my Dot Com Lifestyle, I’ve had people me asking exactly what I do for a living, and I even found my name mentioned along with mega-bloggers Darren Rowse, Steve Pavlina and John Chow, in author A. Dawn’s Personal Finance Journal! ūüėĮ

The latest project
I promised to keep you all informed about my latest website, Writing Workbooks, which I’ve been building with my mum. It’s full of handwriting practice workbooks which cover popular elementary school topics such as dinosaurs, the Titanic, hot air balloons and bears to name just a few. My mum was a primary school teacher for years so it made sense to lean on her for the content, and she’s very excited about signing up for Adsense and earning her first online income. Apparently though, she’s not in it for the money, she’s in it for the fame and groupies!


My thought processes

This isn’t a tutorial, so not everything I do can be applied to you own projects, but let me explain some of the things I try to aim for when making a new site.

Stick with the same niche

First, I usually choose a topic similar to one I’ve done before. That gives you an instant stream of visitors because you can direct your current traffic to your new site. I now have seven websites in the children’s education niche which attracted around 140,000 visitors last month. If those people aren’t interested in the content, they have three main choices: click the back button, click through to one of my other sites, or leave through an ad. I try carefully to keep visitors within my circle of sites as that increases the chances of them either bookmarking one of them, or earning me a few cents.

Squeeze the niche

Once I’ve got my topic, I “squeeze the niche”. That’s my term for targeting every page to your desired audience. The visitors I want are searching for “writing workbooks” or a variation on that, so I need to rank highly for that search term in Google and co. I registered the domain name writingworkbooks.com because most people who link to the site will use the title as their anchor text. The words used in incoming links are really important, and that’s why it’s common for people to rank highly for the name of their site. I’ve also used related keywords in the titles of every page on the site. This should show that the whole site is based on the same topic, which should give it more weight in search engine results.

Build it and leave it

Next, and this was mentioned before, I rarely build a website that requires ongoing work. This blog and JapanSoc always need some kind of contribution (especially spam busting!), but my other sites are finished. I think it defeats the purpose of running an internet business if you actually have to work. That’s not what the Dot Com Lifestyle is about! Ideally, you’ll make sites that take a few weeks to make and promote, but then you can leave them online to earn a passive income. That gives you time to spend with your family, or work on new projects to build up your online workforce.

Launch day

Finally, it’s time to launch. I actually had the site online over a month ago to give it time to get indexed by the search engines, and I made a sitemap and submitted it to Google through Webmaster Tools. Today, I linked all my other educational sites to this one, and put the word out on a number of education-related social bookmarking sites as well as Digg, StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us. That should spark a flurry of interest, and with a bit of luck the teachers and parents who will benefit most from WritingWorkbooks.com will bookmark it, link to it and discuss it in forums.

Where do we go from here?

I’ve nearly finished my contribution to the site, so I’m going to leave it up to my mum to promote it in her signature on teacher forums. Quite honestly, after typing up 800 handwriting worksheets, we are both suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury and could use a break… until the next project begins.

Google Speed Search Lesson #9 – Features

This is part nine of my Google Speed-Search series. In the last lesson, I gave examples of using Google’s site: syntax. In this lesson, we’re going to have some fun with some really useful search features.

Google as a calculator

Did you know you can use Google as a calculator? Using either math or plain English, just search with your query, and the Big G will give you the answer!


Google as a calculator

Using Google to convert measurements
Google can also be used for measurement conversion. This is very handy for converting between imperial and metric, and is so much faster than searching for a dedicated website and using that.


Google for currency conversion

If you live in Japan, you’re probably converting yen to dollars or pounds and back again quite regularly. You might even use a website like xe.com, but did you know you could do it all in Google?


Using Google as a dictionary

When you’ve lived in Japan a long time, you’ll start to forget how to spell English words, and even forget the meaning of some of them! If you are like me, you’ll absolutely love Google’s define: syntax.


Google as a know-it-all smarty pants!

Although Google as a search engine typically points you to websites that can answer your questions, it occasionally likes to show off and just tell you the answers without you needing to visit any websites at all! Try these:

This is all just a little of what you can do with Google, and maybe I’ll come back and cover more search features another time. If you’re keen to learn more, you should take a look at Google Help : Search Features.

Nick Ramsay Google Battle Update

In October last year, I laid down the gauntlet and swore I would take the number one spot in Google’s search results for my own name. My opponent was none other than the politician, Nick Ramsay, who happens to be a fellow Brit, born in the same year as myself! Supported by internet powerhouses Wikipedia and the British Conservative Party, it was going to be tough…

Rising to the top

Five months later, and I’ve done it! I’m now No.1 in Google’s search results for my name. The key to my success was probably not telling my competition I was competing with him! ūüėČ

Comparing search results

What’s your Google battle?

If you could get your own blog or website to rank higher in the search engines, what “family-friendly” keyword or search term would you want to rank higher for? It would obviously need to be related to your site. One of the more popular search phrases for people in this community is “Japan blog”, which returns GeishaBlog.com as the first result. I bet that one gets a few hits!

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. ūüėČ

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

Google Speed Search Lesson #7 – Special Syntax

Here’s part seven of my Google Speed-Search series. This post looks at how you can use special syntax to finds results based on title, body text or url.

Searching only page titles

Let’s say you wanted to find profile pages for Michael Jackson. The most relevant will have “Michael Jackson profile” in the title, right? So, try searching with the intitle command:

intitle:"michael jackson profile"

This will only return web pages with that term in the title. If you are one of the few people actually looking for Osama Bin Laden, you might find him with this:

intitle:"osama bin laden location"

Searching through the body of a page

If you are looking for blog posts that recommend something better than Windows Vista, you can use the intext command to restrict your search to the body of each page:

intext:"better than Windows Vista"

That will return pages where the author has either suggested a superior alternative to the Windows operating system, or has decided that “there is nothing better than Windows Vista”

Searching through urls only

Sometimes it’s useful to search the urls of web pages to find what you’re looking for. For example, if you want to find the help page on Amazon.com, you might try using the inurl command.

inurl:help Amazon

This brings up all the help pages you could possibly need for the massive online “bookstore”. inurl has its uses, but for webmasters, you can’t beat the site command which I’ll be addressing next time.

Next: Lesson #8 – Site

Using JapanSoc to Boost Blog Traffic

JapanSocFrom time to time, I’ll be posting about my new project, JapanSoc, so if you’re not sure what it is, please read the article JapanSoc Brings Social Bookmarking to Japan so that you understand these posts!

Over on the Daily J, Chris B posted a comment about JapanSoc’s voting system, suggesting that people could cheat it by asking their friends to vote up their submissions. I responded by explaining how social bookmarking manages itself because users can vote up what they like or “bury” what they don’t. I then went on to talk about how votes are less important than visitors:

Using JapanSoc as a bridge between Google and your blog

From a bloggers point of view, you want to get as much traffic as possible. The best way to get traffic is through search engines, but it’s very difficult to get your own blog ranking high in Google’s search results because you’re competing with other, bigger sites for the same keywords.

The advantage of a site like JapanSoc is that as it grows and gets more users and incoming links, it will become one of those ‚Äúbig‚ÄĚ sites, and rank higher for YOUR keywords than your own site. Hence it becomes a ‚Äúbridge‚ÄĚ between Google and your blog.

One important concept to remember is that when you submit one of your own posts, you should use a different title to the original, and give it a quality write-up, using keywords you want Google to find. If you just cut and paste the opening paragraph and use the same title as you did in the original post, it will be judged by Google as duplicate content and not rank so high, if at all.

Anyway, I hope you can see that it’s not about getting votes, it’s about getting visitors.

Competing with yourself is a waste of potential traffic

With the above in mind, I did some searching on Google to see if I could find any real examples of how JapanSoc can be used to get traffic from the search engine giant. First, here’s an example of why you shouldn’t use the same titles:

Google results for Hinoki Ramen Shinjuku

You can see that for the search term “Hinoki Ramen Shinjuku”, the third result is the JapanSoc submission, which comes behind Neil’s original article. Ideally Neil should have used a different title with different keywords to avoid competition between his original article and the JapanSoc submission. Incidentally, notice how the JapanSoc link ranks above otaku.fm, Danny Choo‘s aggregated feed network. Sorry, Danny! ūüėČ

Titles matter to Google

This next example is a little more interesting, but shows the same problem:

Google results for Yutampo Japan

The above screenshot shows the results for “yutampo japan”. Thomas wrote about the Japanese hot water bottle on his blog, but his original post doesn’t show up in these results at all.

However, you can see Japanalyst (an rss feed aggregator) at number one, and it shows the same title for JapanSoc, BloggingZoom, and even the original article – talk about competing with yourself! ūüėĮ Blogging Zoom have made things hard for themselves by attaching “BloggingZoom” to the front of the title instead of the end. All these things matter to Google.

Example using different titles

This last example shows how it should be done. The original article was titled “Slipper Ping Pong Official Racket” and as you can see below, it comes up first for the search term “slipper ping pong”.

Google results for Slipper Ping Pong

The JapanSoc link is nowhere to be found in those results because when I submitted the article to JapanSoc, I gave it the title, “Play table tennis with your slippers”, which as you can see below, ranks third for the search term “table tennis slippers”. Now that article can get traffic from both search terms!

Google results for Table Tennis Slippers

Help yourself and others by using different titles

If you use a social bookmarking site, whether it be JapanSoc or otherwise, think about changing the article’s title and summary when you make a submission. Of course, if you’re not a blogger yourself or you like submitting other people’s work (as I do), you can send them a little more traffic from the search engines by taking a few extra moments to personalize each submission. Happy JapanSocking!

Google Speed-Search Lesson #6 – Wildcards

Here‚Äôs part six of my Google Speed-Search series. In this lesson, we’ll use wildcards to speed up our searches.

A wildcard in Google is represented by an asterisk (*) and used instead of a single word. Consider this search:

"Mount Fuji is * high"

This phrase search forces Google to return web pages with the exact phrase above, but replacing the wildcard with any word. Here are some examples of what this search returns:

  • Mount Fuji is 3776 meters high
  • Mount Fuji is 12377 feet high
  • Mount Fuji is 3.8 km high
  • Mount Fuji is 3066 metres high

That last one proves you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet!

Using multiple wildcards

Each instance of the wildcard represents one word (numbers don’t count as shown above). Take a look at these examples with real Google results below each:

"ten * bottles sitting on the wall"

  • Ten green bottles sitting on the wall

"ten * * sitting on the wall"

  • Ten green bloggers sitting on the wall ūüėĮ
  • Ten green bottles sitting on the wall

"ten * * * on the wall"

  • Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
  • Ten green bottles standing on the wall

"ten * * * * the wall"

  • Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
  • Ten years ago, I daresay, The Wall Street Journal…
  • …grew steadily for ten years until we hit the wall

A little creativity can find you what you’re looking for

The Google wildcard is one of my favorite speed-search tricks. You can use it to find song lyrics, such as…

"will * * * me * you * * me * I'm *" (Try this one in Google!)

Or even to find the unanswerable…

"the secret of life is *" ūüėČ

Next: Lesson #7 – Special Syntax

Google Speed-Search Lesson #5 – Case Sensitivity

Here’s part five of my¬†Google Speed-Search series. This post answers the question, is a Google search case sensitive?

What difference does case make?

Some search engines will return different results depending on whether you use upper or lower case characters. So, for example, if you type apple you’d get results for the fruit or¬†technology giant. If you typed APPLE however, you’d get results for the Association to Promote and Protect the Lubec Environment, or the band All Punks Please Leave Earth.

Is a case sensitive search useful?

You could argue that a case sensitive¬†search, such as the “apple” example above,¬†would be useful. You could cut out results for fruit and iPods if you were¬†looking for sites about the Lubec Environment. Unfortunately, you’d be pulling your hair out when¬†you¬†forget to capitalize¬†names and places. Imagine getting different results for “Tokyo” and “tokyo”, or “Albert Einstein” and “albert einstein”.¬†¬†¬†

Is Google sensitive to case in a search term?

No, fortunately not. Google is case insensitive. You can search for apple, APPLE, Apple, or even aPpLe and get the same results with each word.

Next: Google Speed-Search Lesson #6 – Wildcards

Ramsay Ramblings 12/6/2007

There are a few things I’d like to ramble about this morning (2:30am!).

The word “Half” – to allow it or not

Mami and I were talking about what to tell Rikuto about the¬†word, “half”. If you missed my post, Half-Japanese or Half-Blood?, this English word is used by Japanese people¬†to describe someone who is¬†only part Japanese.¬†Foreigners despise this word because the English implications are not complete, impure, or even polluted.

The problem is that Japanese people have absolutely no idea we see it as a derogatory term, and say things like “Ah, isn’t he cute? Is he a half?” or “You’re so lucky to have a half!”. How¬†should we¬†respond to these kind of comments? And at what age should we teach Rikuto that it’s wrong for people to refer to him as “half”?

Mami is worried that if I jump on everyone that describes him that way, he’ll learn from me that it’s derogatory, and lose all self-confidence¬†when he hears everyone¬†using that term to describe him! I can understand what Mami is getting at. She wants to protect him until he’s old enough to understand an explanation. Fortunately, we’ve still got a long time to think this one through.¬†

Google’s war on paid links¬†

Mike lost his PageRank and Jason was finally spanked by Google¬†this week, and I’ve been scrambling to make my websites compliant with Google’s new policies on paid linking so the same thing doesn’t happen to me. Most of you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about, but basically Google is punishing people who sell text link advertising. Mike, Jason and I all wrote sponsored posts and got paid to do so, but now Google has outlawed that practice, at least if you still want¬†people to find your¬†blog in Google’s search results. The reason for this “shock and awe” phase of Google’s¬†“war on paid links” is that it’s possible to manipulate their search results by¬†buying text advertising and using words you expect people to search for to find your site.

LongCountdown.com penalized by Google anyway

I still have my “PageRank” for the time being,¬†but Google has¬†penalized me for something else which I’ve yet to identify. If you search for my name right now, you’re unlikely to find me on the first page of Google’s search results. In fact, you might have to go as far as page three to find LongCountdown.com. This fall from number¬†three to page three isn’t what bothers me, though. The real kicker is that my Writing Wizard website sits in a subdomain of this blog, and that means my most profitable website has also been pushed off the front page of Google’s search results.

If it’s broke, fix it

The bright side to all this is that while I try to figure out what change I need to make to this blog to “reactivate” it in Google, I’m learning a few things about “bad neighbourhoods” and other factors that can topple a site from it’s perch. I’m quite confident I’ll have things back to normal within a month. Fortunately, my other sites are holding up well and still putting money in my pocket while I ride this out. Update: Within 48 hours, I was back ranking where I should be. I did this by ensuring I was in compliance with Google Webmaster Guidelines,¬†finding questionable links with the¬†bad neighborhood tool¬†and then removing them,¬†and finally submitting a reconsideration request through Google Webmaster Tools.

Two weeks Christmas holidays coming up

I only realized¬†the other day¬†that I have nothing to do during this year’s festive holidays! Whoo-hoo!¬†It’s the longest holiday of the year for me, but I usually find myself busy with something. Last year we moved house; the year before that we went to England on¬†our belated honeymoon, and previous Christmases have had me¬†developing school curriculum!¬†This year, besides doing all I can to appease Google, I have nothing to do but play with Rikuto! I’ll probably set up a playroom for him in a spare room, somewhere he can safely run around and bump into things – once he discovers he has legs, of course.¬†

Spending Christmas Day with my family in England

This year will be the first time we can really put our web camera to good use. Rikuto’s grandparents in England finally got broadband last month and that means we’ll be sitting around having drinks together, and opening presents¬†with them through the internet!

Google Speed-Search Lesson #4 – Stop Words

In this fourth part of my Google Speed-Search series, we’ll take a look at stop words¬†– words that Google ignores.

What words does Google ignore? 

There doesn’t seem to be a public list of Google stop words available (although I did find this), but words like the, is, are, that, on, in and¬†with are very likely to be ignored. Numbers and question words, too, seem to be considered as stop words.

Examples of searches with and without stop words

All these searches return (nearly) the same results:

Japanese Prime Minister

  • The Japanese Prime Minister
  • How is the Japanese Prime Minister?
  • Who is the Japanese Prime Minister?
  • Where is the Japanese Prime Minister?
  • Was the Japanese Prime Minister in on it?
  • Where is the Japanese Prime Minister from?
  • What was the Japanese Prime Minister on about?
  • Will this be from the¬†Japanese Prime Minister?
  • Why and when to be the Japanese Prime Minister
  • Is this by the Japanese Prime Minister or is that?

If you’re the kind of person who types questions into Google, hopefully you can now see that using stop words is pointless (at least in these examples) and you’d be able to speed up your searches without them. For example, if you really want to know where the Japanese prime minister is from, you’d be better off searching with:

birthplace Japanese Prime Minister

How to include stop words in a Google search

What if you really need to include stop words in your search? Well, in the last lesson, I showed you how to exclude words from your search results using negation. We did that by adding a minus sign (-) to the front of the word we wanted to exclude. The opposite is called Explicit Inclusion, and we use a plus sign (+) to forcibly include words in our searches. For example:

+the cars

If you didn’t include the stop word, you’d get results about automobiles. Using Explicit Inclusion however, you get results for the American rock band from the 70’s, The Cars.

Is a phrase search better?

Usually, yes. In our example above, we are telling Google to return pages that contain the words the and cars, but not neccessarily together or in that order. To improve our results, we want to see those words back-to-back, so we’d be better off using a phrase search, i.e.:

"the cars"

A phrase search gives results contaiing the exact phrase searched for, including any stop words.

There are times when explicit inclusion is helpful though. A search for king will return pages for magazines, games and radio stations called King. A search for +the king will give you results for Elvis Presley, books, movies and burgers, instead.

Next: Google Speed-Search Lesson #5 –¬†Case Sensitivity

Google Speed-Search Lesson #3 – Negation

This is the third part in my Google Speed-Search series. Here are the first two parts if you missed them:

Remove unwanted results with negation 

This lesson introduces negation,¬†i.e. using a minus sign (-)¬†to specify terms you don’t want to appear in your search results. This can be useful when your results are cluttered with unrelated websites. Consider these examples:

Note: There should be a space before the minus sign, but not after.

Ice Age -movie

Despite Ice Age being a popular movie for kids, if you want information on the real ice age, you should remove the word “movie”.

Japanese cars -used

Searching for Japanese cars brings up a bunch of websites selling used cars. If you’re just interested in learning about Japanese cars, remove the word “used” from your results.

football -nfl -american

For English football,¬†or soccer, do a search for results that don’t contain “NFL” or “American”.

"birthday cards" -free -ecard

Wrapping “birthday cards” in double quotes will make sure all the results contain exactly that phrase. Of course, if you’re looking to buy a traditional birthday card, you don’t want results containing “free” or “Ecard”.

Using negation, it’s easy to remove what you don’t want:

US President -"George Bush" ūüėČ

Next: Google Speed-Search Lesson #4 –¬†Stop Words

Google Speed-Search Lesson #2 – Boolean

In Google Speed-Search Lesson #1, I showed you how to do phrase searches. In this lesson, we’ll look at basic Boolean, i.e. using uppercase AND and OR in our searches.

Let’s imagine you’re British and you want to find websites about Father Christmas, you might start with this:

Father Christmas

What you’re really telling Google is to search for any website¬†that contains the words Father AND Christmas, not necessarily together, or even in that order. Fortunately, the results you get for this search just happen to have Father and Christmas together in the order you specified, such is the magic of Google’s¬†ranking algorithms.¬†

Using a phrase search

However, as good as Google is, it gave us over 10 million results, which is just a few more than¬†most people are¬†prepared to look through. Let’s do our search properly, using a phrase search:

"Father Christmas"

That’s better. This time Google gives us 1.5 million results, and we can be sure they all have an exact match for our phrase.

Don’t forget that Google’s Boolean default is AND, so if you search for

"Father Christmas" "Santa Claus"

you’re going to get results that match “Father Christmas” AND “Santa Claus”. Not surprisingly, there are only 318,000 results that match both of these names.

Using Boolean OR

It’s more likely that you want to search for websites that match either “Father Christmas”¬†or “Santa Claus”, in which case you have to explicitly tell Google that¬†by including the Boolean OR in your search:

"Father Christmas" OR "Santa Claus"

Perfect. Now every result contains one or the other jolly little man. Now consider the following search:

"World Cup" (soccer OR football)

If you prefer, you can replace the OR with a pipe character:

"World Cup" (soccer | football)

Remember that this means “Give me results that match the terms “World Cup”¬†and also contain either soccer¬†or football“.

A more complex example with phrase and Boolean searches

Here’s one last example to show you how specific you can be with just phrase¬†and Boolean searches:

Japan "English teacher" "((Nick OR Nicholas) (Ramsay OR Ramsey))"

This means the results must contain one of the following:

  • Japan, English teacher, Nick Ramsay
  • Japan, English teacher, Nick Ramsey
  • Japan, English teacher, Nicholas Ramsay
  • Japan, English teacher, Nicholas Ramsey

Try experimenting with phrase searches and Boolean searches. See if you can find any long, lost friends!

Next: Google Speed-Search Lesson #3 – Negation

Google Speed-Search Lesson #1 – Phrase Searches

Speed SearchingWhen I was in Secondary school, my math teacher gave us a peculiar exercise for homework. She wanted us to memorize the alphabet backwards before the next lesson. Not surprisingly, when that lesson came, there were only two of us in the class who had actually made the effort to remember our ABCs in reverse order. Thanks to that teacher, I have since been able to fire through a dictionary from either end, and find words faster than most other people. 

Speed up your searching with Google

Maybe you have no need for a dictionary these days, but you probably use Google enough to benefit from some speed-searching tricks. Wouldn’t it be great to speed up your Google searches, finding things in half the time? These days, search engines provide special commands that can help you do just that, and I’m going to show you how to use them in small, bite-sized chunks. I’ll start off with the simplest of tricks – the phrase search.

Using phrase searches to speed up your search

Let’s imagine¬†you want to visit Himeji Castle, but don’t know if it’s worth seeing. Let’s Google

Himeji Castle

Okay,¬†that¬†gives¬†you¬†259,000 results, and most of the results on the first page just give you some background information. What you¬†really¬†need is a review, so you might try…

Himeji Castle reviews

Now you’ve got¬†results for the Himeji Castle Hotel, and links to reviews of the hotel. The reason for this is that Google is¬†returning¬†web pages that contains those words, but not necessarily together, or even in that order.¬†Again, we really want a review of the castle itself, so let’s look for someone who has actually been there, using a phrase search, i.e. we wrap the phrase in double-quotes, like this…

"went to Himeji Castle"

Google now returns 1,290 results for web pages that contain exactly that phrase. Most of the results are useful because the authors have literally said that they went to Himeji Castle, and in most cases go on to tell you what they thought of it. Perfect.

Getting the most out of Google phrase searches

You can search with a combination of phrase searches and keywords, too, for example:

"Canon printer driver" Vista


"Nick Ramsay" "English teacher" Japan

If this is all new to you, give it a try. You might be able to find an old friend or fix one of those bugging computer problems!

Next: Google Speed-Search Lesson #2 – Boolean

Nick Ramsay vs Nick Ramsay

Google search results for Nick RamsayI’m sure most of you have googled your own name on the internet, and I’m no different. It’s no surprise to find someone else with the same name as you considering the billions of people on the planet, but in my case, the other Nick Ramsay¬†is also British, and the same age as me!

I take pride in my computer skills, so it’s a bit disappointing not to see my own website at the top of Google’s search results for “Nick Ramsay”. It’s understandable, however, when you realize that Nick Ramsay is a politician. Not only that, but I’m beaten by his profile page on the highly popular Conservatives.com website.

Being a politician, I assume Nick regularly gets mentioned in newspapers, blogs and other media. Whenever someone talks about him online, they are likely to link to his Conservatives profile page, using the name “Nick Ramsay”.¬†Linking with specific¬†keywords (i.e. anchor text) is the best way to get your site ranking highly in the search results.

Nick Ramsay vs Nick Ramsay

Taking on a politician in a search ranking contest is¬†as silly as me entering a sumo contest,¬†but nevertheless, I’ll continue to push for that top spot, and hope Nick Ramsay the¬†politician¬†has a career change!