Why everyone (who wants a job) needs to be online and learn search operators

Google Search

Image by Steven Combs via Flickr

Copy/paste this string (in bold) into your Google search bar: “crm database” “manager” (intitle:resume)
Yup that is me. The number 3 result on a Google search for CRM Database Manager. Read on for tips on how people can find you online. I imagine this will be helpful to job seekers.

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Like anyone else, I am interested in what the outside world thinks of me – especially when I do not have to solicit directly from them. Part of the beauty of the web is that, with the right tools, it is really easy to get a variety of statistics about the visitors to your website. My blog is a pretty basic operation and, though there are a trove of utilities out there, there are three places I primarily get my data analytics from.

One is my WordPress Dashboard under ‘Site Stats’ as well as two plugins I installed – WassUp Keywords and WassUp Stats.

Two is under my cPanel (a backend site maintenance utility provided to me by my web host). There are a number of packages there, but I typically use Awstats.

Third is Google Analytics.

I used to have a casual relationship with the statistics of my site. It is a personal blog. There is no commerce. It is interesting to see who is visiting from where, what they are viewing, my most popular posts, etc.

It is also interesting to check out what terms people are using to get to your site. For example, the following search engine terms are a small example of terms people used to find my blog.

Search Views
oldsmobile jingle 3
first person view of a mountain bike rac 1
massively parallel processing architectu 1
888-672-7370 1

I took a look at the below key phrases a couple weeks ago (I am way behind on finishing up and publishing drafts of some posts) and here is what came up.

Search Keyphrases (Top 10) Full list
104 different keyphrases Search Percent
-inurl dir -inurl sample -inurl samples -inurl cvsamples -inurl example -inurl examples workflow sharepoint 12 7.3 %
-inurl dir -inurl sample -inurl samples -inurl cvsamples -inurl example -inurl examples new products pricing analyst 6 3.6 %
singing rice cooker 5 3 %
-inurl dir -inurl sample -inurl samples -inurl cvsamples -inurl example -inurl examples retail director training 5 3 %
kitlas.com 4 2.4 %
circadian rhythm test 4 2.4 %
crowdsourced data research 3 1.8 %
triples marc rda 3 1.8 %
-inurl dir -inurl sample -inurl samples -inurl cvsamples -inurl example -inurl examples general assistant manager 3 1.8 %
the new york city reggae party megamix 3 1.8 %

While it is totally awesome that I rank as the number one Google result for ‘singing rice cooker‘ and number four for ‘circadian rhythm test‘, the biggie here (and thrust of this post) is that all of the traffic was driven to my site by the ‘-inurl’ search operator mixed in with some job candidate requirements.

These people landed on my site because they were looking to fill a position and were specifically targeting attributes of potential candidates.

What brought them there? What else, my resume. Not from Monster.com or another job site, but from the very humble kitlas.com.

So, what are these search operators? A basic description from Copernic Inc.:

A search operator is an instruction that joins keywords to form a new, more complex query. It enables you to look for several words at once by telling …. how to link keywords. The most common search operators are the three Boolean operators (AND/+, OR and NOT/-), which allow the inclusion or exclusion of documents from the search results.

So, what does the ‘inurl’ command do?

If you include inurl: in your query, Google will restrict the results to documents containing that word in the URL. For instance, [ inurl:print site:www.googleguide.com ] searches for pages on Google Guide in which the URL contains the word “print.” It finds pdf files that are in the directory or folder named “print” on the Google Guide website. The query [ inurl:healthy eating ] will return documents that mention the words “healthy” in their URL, and mention the word “eating” anywhere in the document.

There are tons of advanced search operators that are laid out beautifully by Google Guide. You can find them here.

These are tools in the proverbial toolbelt. There is a lot more to being found on the web than making a blog and posting resumes. I got lucky in that what I was doing was obviously right, but luck is not necessary. Using these operators to test your content can help greatly in your online presence.

You need content, you need it online, and it needs to be very purposeful. If you look at my resume, you will see very little ‘fat’. I also take a lot of time working on it. Sometimes every week I make changes. Whether it is a new skill I picked up, relevant coursework, or a new piece of software I have mastered, I post it.

The moral of the story is that, if you want to be found online, you need to:

  • help people find you by making yourself visible
  • find out where they are looking for and compare to what you have and see how well you match up
  • tweak as necessary

As you may imagine, I have now moved from having a passive/casual relationship with my site statistics to a very active one.

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