Cache in the Bank: Understanding Googles Advanced Operators

If you would like to know when your site was last indexed by Google, you can find out easily by using the Google cache command. By typing "cache:www.logcabinrustics.com" into the Google search engine, I learned that my site was last indexed yesterday. The Google cache also displays the web page at the time of indexing, so you can see the latest version of your page that was indexed by Google.

As some webmasters have learned, the Google cache feature can be particularly handy when a valuable website and its backup have been lost due to computer failures. It may be time-consuming, especially if you have hundreds of pages, but you can actually retrieve the "lost" pages from your site in the form that Google last indexed them. If this doesn't work, you might also try the Wayback Machine at archive.org.

Forensic experts have also used the Google cache feature to their advantage-to retrieve incriminating evidence from the web. This should be an important reminder to all webmasters not to publish sensitive material online. A later decision not to publish some tantalizing tidbit, and the frantic page-pulling that ensues, may not be enough to erase those ill-said words from the Net.

Webmasters are supposed to be able to block Google from caching their site by using the "no cache" tag. However, many don't even try this for fear of losing favor in the company's powerful search rankings. Although Google says the "no cache" tags don't affect web rankings, some webmasters aren't so sure.

Other Helpful Google Operators

Other helpful search engine operators of particular value to webmasters include:

LINK: The LINK operator, when used in conjunction with your domain name, is supposed to tell you how many links are pointing to your site. The syntax for this command is "link:http://www.thevegetarianexpress.com/. By way of caution, this only shows how many links indexed by Google that are linking to you. A more inclusive option is found at the Marketleap website, where the Link Popularity Tool reports how many links are pointing to your site from other well-traveled search engines as well.

INURL: Google's INURL operator will restrict your search to one site only. For example, typing "inurl:www.logcabinrustics.com log beds" will bring up the log beds only on the Log Cabin Rustics furniture website. This is a particularly helpful option if you are looking for a specific phrase on one site.

INTITLE: The INTITLE operator is helpful if you are looking for sites with a particular keyword in their title tag. Use this phrase at Google by typing in "intitle:furniture" or whatever other search term you are looking for.

Variations of the above themes include the ALLINURL and ALLINTITLE search operators. These are particularly useful when you are looking for a string of keywords in either a title or site. For example, if you start a query with allinurl:, Google will restrict the results to those with all of the query words in the url. For instance, [allinurl:logcabinrustics.com bunk beds] will return only documents that have both "bunk" and "beds" in the url.

Google operators can be especially helpful in analyzing the web pages of key competitors. To learn more, visit http://www.google.com/help/operators.html.

Copyright 2005 Log Cabin Rustics

Cari Haus is webmaster for http://www.logcabinrustics.com, an online retailer of quality log furniture.

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