Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How to Manipulate Google SERPs Like a Pro


Many of us in world of SEO are more than familiar with the variety of codes available for obtaining targeted results in Google SERPs. However, when it comes to fishing out what you want from the far-reaching ocean that is Google, it may be worth opting to use the URL bar as opposed to the Google search bar.

For example, if you want to conduct a sample query search in Google UK, the easiest way to do it is to type this into your browser’s URL bar:

www.google.co.uk/search?q=sample+query   

Once you hit enter, Google will display SERP results according to your saved search settings. It will also automatically add &gws_rd=ssl to the URL, which indicates that the search is being conducted using SSL (secure protocol); currently Google's default for all searches meaning your search queries remain private and secure. Below, we changed replaced the words “sample” and “query” with “fast” and “cars”. The URL search bar automatically added the SSL code &gws_rd=ssl at the end of the code, and gave us these concentrated results: 


There are many such tricks which can help you pinpoint your intended results, and below is a list of some of the most useful commands which you can punch into your URL bar.

num=       specifies number of results to be displayed, e.g. 33 (this can be pretty fun!)
start=       specifies which page to begin showing results from. 0 for page 1, 1 for page 2 and  so on.
pws=        personalised web search - based on your preferences and previously visited sites (stored cookies) and other stuff discovered about you by Google especially when you are  logged in to Google services such as Gmail.           
gl=          Global location - the country where you are or want to be (instant travel!) You need to provide the two-letter country code, the full list of which can be found here.
hl=           the input language you’re using on your computer. Again, you need to provide a 2-letter language code, a full list of which can be found here.

So, with these commands in mind, let’s have a little play around with Google with the command below: (bear in mind that each of these parameters need to be separated with a “&”.)

www.google.com.au/search?q=best+fails&gl=au&hl=en&num=100&start=20&pws=0 

This will display 100 results for “best fails” starting from page 2 in Google Australia, with personalised search turned off and the user assuming the identity of searching with an English language computer in Australia. Have a look at the results below:


These are but a few useful commands which can be used to manipulate Google SERPs to your heart’s desire. If you’re hungry for more, then why not check out Moz’s Ultimate Guide to Google Search Parameters.


Main image credit: Andreia Bohner 

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