Many websites provide a search field for users to search their content. However, if the site has a lot of content that are not well categorized, it can often be difficult for users to find the deeply buried content. If you want best search outcomes from a site, it’s faster to use Google. Don’t just limit yourself to a basic keyword search though as it’s barely skimming the potential of Google. As long as the page has been indexed on the search engine, you can fish it out in a few seconds using one of the effective methods discussed below.
1. Simple Keyword Search
While you can use many operators in the search box, it’s enough to remember just one for all below methods – “site:website name”. For a simple keyword search on any given site, enter the search query as shown here.
All the returned search results will only be pages from the specific site.
2. Search within a Date Range
Many news sites have deeply buried content which can be very old and you can no longer find them in a simple Google search. However, you can search within any date range to view how the site would have covered that story.
The following search is for a healthcare scare around 2003-04. To know how CNN covered that story in that period, I clicked “Tools -> Custom Range.” The dates can be manually adjusted which is more helpful.
As soon as you insert a customized date range, you will get relevant stories from that time period alone.
3. Turn on Advanced Search
Click ‘Tools -> Advanced Search” to find more options with Google. This tiny menu is a real treasure trove of real information. Used correctly, its potential is vast and unlimited. One might wonder why the Advanced Search option is not displayed prominently by Google. Everything you need to find out about a site is right here.
Find Specific File Types in a Site
Using the Advanced Search option, you can find specific file types in a given site: PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, Word documents and more. This technique is really useful for many reasons. You can quickly find conference PDF files from an event, or financial report spreadsheets on a company website.
The following search results are for PDF files relating to IoT at an event website.
Find Links and URL to a Keyword
Using Advanced Search, you can find all the links and URLs on a site connected to a given keyword.
Using the following command (called “Allinanchor”), you will find all the links containing the keyword. This is very useful to find out all relevant site pages on a given topic using Google search.
4. Hashtag in Search Results
Is there a hashtag event which may have been covered on the site? Using a customized date range and a hashtag (#) before the keyword, you can find the exact pages where the stories would have been covered.
5. Bypass Paywalls
Some good websites quickly introduce a paywall as soon as you read two-three articles. If you are only looking for a quick glimpse into the text and pictures, you can use Google’s “cache” option to access the contents.
Copy the title of the paywall article and enter that before “cache:sitename”. This way you can enable the Google cache option for the webpage even if the site owners have disabled it.
While the page loading experience might not be that good, you can at least read the entire text and check the images. Here are more methods on how to bypass paywalls.
Google search engine has very advanced capabilities to dig out deeply buried information on almost any site, and you can use it to find almost any content on specific website. If you want better access to a site’s contents, Google is tremendously useful.
How many of these methods have you tried? Please let us know in the comments.