Whether you're new to using Google or a seasoned search professional, Google Power is an essential addition to your search library. In his book, Chris Sherman not only shows you how to become a better searcher, he also provides valuable information for preparing your site for Google visibility.
Frequently Used Searches
Because I'm a Mac user (and don't have the Google Toolbar installed on my primary computer), I keep a table of the frequent types of Google searches I use to analyze both client and competitor Web sites. Google Power gave me more streamlined tips to add to my research arsenal, especially little-known types of search operators, such as "source:" (to utilize in a news search when searching for specific news sources) and other useful information, such as flight status searches.
Many expert searchers are already familiar with Boolean operators ("and," "or," +, -) and use them regularly to refine their Google searches. In his book, Sherman outlines how these operators are useful in different types of Google searches (news, shopping, image, etc.).
For example, the "or" operator generally isn't useful for refining search results. However, if you're searching for people on Google, the it can help you find a former classmate, an obscure relative, or an old family friend more easily. (Sherman outlines how to do this in Chapter 12.)
How Google Power Is Organized
The book is organized into three parts. Part 1, "Going Under the Hood to Supercharge Google," explains how Google works. It covers the anatomy of Google SERPs (define), advanced search operators, hidden Google tools, types of Google searches, and information about the Google Toolbar.
Even if you've used Google for years and know many of the ins and outs of the Google Toolbar, Sherman outlines many useful toolbar features that may not be commonly known. Too many search engine marketers obsess over the PageRank feature, when others are far more valuable. For example, many sites don't have their own internal search engine. The Google Toolbar enables you to restrict searches to the site you're currently viewing.
Additionally, Sherman shows how researchers can save considerable search time by using some of Google's automated tools. You can be alerted when your company appears in Google News or when any new, relevant information about your competitor becomes available.
Part 2 offers a plethora of useful tips for enhancing Google searches, including searches for health information, news, shopping, travel, competitive intelligence, and technical support. Sherman showed a detailed how-to for researching medical professionals' credentials and disciplinary history. Readers will get multiple glimpses at how effective searches can be through Sherman' many examples.
Part 3 contains the appendices. If you're concerned about the information Google gathers about individuals, don't skip this section. Sherman provides some great tips and URLs to regain control over that information.
Beyond Google Tips
Perhaps, as the title of the book suggests, one might think Google Power only contains information about searching on Google. Though Sherman certainly lauds the search engine's strengths, he also provides URLs to sites that offer different (and sometimes better) search or browsing capabilities. He gives readers "Beyond Google" URLs, detailed descriptions of each site, and practical examples for additional resources.
Google Power is loaded with URLs that are great for bookmarking. Sherman's The Invisible Web gave me plenty of bookmarks for both competitive research and link building. Google Power gave me even more bookmarks to add.
Google Image Search
As a Web/graphic designer, I found his image search chapter quite interesting, especially since I infrequently use an image search on Google or any other Web search engines. From a search usability perspective, Getty Images is my personal favorite image search engine, even though it's a commercial site. After reading this chapter, I renewed my appreciation for how well Google's advanced in the image search arena.
I've optimized graphic images for years and certainly know how to optimize images for an image search. Yet I appreciate how well Sherman explained how Google's image search works and his tips for image search optimization. I was surprised how easy it can be to find a historical photograph from the Civil War on Google. For businesses for which image search is important, such as sites that sell posters or other visual materials, this chapter will help you prepare your site for image search visibility.
In our company, the dead giveaway that I've purchased an outstanding book is that I can never find it. Someone inevitably swipes it from my library or my desk. I have to ask other staff if they've seen my book, and if so, who has it?
When Google Power arrived via snail-mail, I warned others not to borrow it until I'd finished reading it. I ended up purchasing multiple copies so I wouldn't forever be hunting down my personal copy. That's how content-rich this book is. For those of you who search online as a profession, and even for those of you who search for personal reasons, Google Power is a great book. As Roger Ebert might say if he were a book reviewer, "Two enthusiastic thumbs up!"
Meet Shari at Search Engine Strategies August 8-11 in San Jose, CA.
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Shari Thurow is the founder and SEO director at Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service search engine marketing, Web, and graphic design firm. Acknowledged as a leading expert on search engine friendly Web sites worldwide, she is the author of the top-selling marketing book, "Search Engine Visibility," published through Peachpit Press. Shari's areas of expertise include site design, search engine optimization, and usability.