Business Speaker on Internet Research
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include Google Alerts and effective use of Google search codes. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). The 11th chapter of this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) is entitled Google Codes & Alerts (in Part 2 of the book: Plan Your Internet Presence) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. His perspective on internet research and the innovative possible uses of Google Alerts to generate sales leads is summarized below.
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Keynote Speech about Google Alerts
The vast majority of people use only 5% of the free online functionality provided by Google. Aside from the basic search engine, Google provides a host of other services that people can use. Among them is Google Alerts, an option to have Google notify you every time a new listing is indexed that matches a search query of your choosing. This is an extraordinarily powerful tool and Patrick incorporates this along with dozens of other online tools into his presentations about online branding and social media marketing. His programs are filled with case histories so attendees can quickly see how other people have used these tools and how they can implement similar strategies in their own businesses.
Chapter 11: Google Codes & Alerts
Can you hire Google to work for you?
Yes, you can. Better yet, it’s free! Obviously, we can all use Google to find the information we need online, but few of us take full advantage of all that Google has to offer. Google provides literally hundreds of online services free of charge. We could never cover them all in one short chapter. But we’ll touch on a few basics that can help you squeeze a lot more out of Google than you’ve probably been doing so far.
First, there are a number of codes you can use to refine your Google searches. You can tell Google which types of web sites you want to search for (.com, .net, .edu, .gov, etc.), and you can also specify the types of files you’re looking for (pdf, doc, xls, ppt, etc.). How can you leverage these options to your advantage? Here’s one example. The next time you’re looking for a particular PDF e-book or report, search for a couple relevant keywords along with:
Including this code with your keywords will restrict the search to PDF files that include your keywords. This can dramatically accelerate your search and may deliver a number of other related PDF files as well. Every time I do this, I end up finding PDF files I never knew about, but that end up benefiting the cause.
Here’s another example of how you can narrow your Google search. The next time you need to make a presentation about a particular topic, search for relevant keywords along with:
This code will yield PowerPoint presentations that have been posted online and are ready for you to open and learn from. Many of the design elements I use in my PowerPoint presentations were inspired by presentations I found through Google.
You can also use codes to specify the extension of the web sites you’d like Google to return in your search. If you want to identify and interact with educational/academic web sites with the .edu extension, for example, do a search for your relevant keywords along with:
Yes, you do need the dot when referring to web site extensions. The above code will restrict the search findings to .edu web sites, once again accelerating your search process. Also, a lot of people believe that links from .edu web sites are more valuable from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, so this code can help you find possible linking opportunities quickly. (We’ll talk more about SEO in Chapter 30.)
In addition to these search codes, Google also provides the free Google Alerts tool. Just search for “google alerts” on Google to find it. Using this platform, you can enter keywords (as well as the codes discussed above), and Google will send you e-mails whenever web sites matching your search query show up on the Internet. Here are four of the alerts I’ve signed up for:
conference “call for speakers” -scientific -academic
conference speaker submit proposal -scientific -academic
convention “call for speakers” -scientific -academic
convention speaker submit proposal -scientific -academic
Let’s take a closer look at how these Google Alerts work. I’m looking for web sites that issue an opportunity for speakers to submit presentation proposals. They generally do so either by posting a “call for speakers” or by including the words “speaker,” “submit,” and “proposal.”
By putting quotation marks around “call for speakers,” I am restricting the search to web sites that include those three words together, exactly as I have them inside the quotation marks. If I didn’t use those quotation marks, the alert would deliver web sites with the words “call,” “for,” and “speakers” in any order, reducing the specificity and relevance for my search intentions. I have also added the words “scientific” and “academic,” each with a negative sign in front of it.
This format tells Google that I am not interested in results that contain these words. There are tons of conferences and conventions that cater to scientific and academic communities. My topic isn’t relevant to these audiences so I eliminate those results from my alerts. Every single day, Google e-mails me with search results that are relevant and important to me. I hear about conferences as soon as they’re announced. Often, my speaker submission is among the first they receive.
Think about how you can use the same system to fuel your own business. Test different search queries and refine them over time. Before long, Google will be feeding you new leads on a daily basis.
Google Codes & Alerts: Implementation Checklist
Use “filetype:pdf” with your keywords search.
Make note of the files you find.
Use “site:.edu” with your keywords search.
Use “site:.gov” with your keywords search.
Make note of the search results.
Search for “google alerts” and log in.
Create an alert for yourself.
Make note of the results you receive.
Refine the alert to improve the results.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
End of chapter – click here to buy the book on Amazon.