Posted on November 28th, 2011
For years, the “Site:” search operator has provided a quick method to distill mainstream SERPs (search engine result pages) down to results from a single website or class of websites. The operator works for major international search engines including Google, Bing, Yandex, Baidu, and others. Concatenate keywords to filter SERPs matriculated by both site and keyword. When focused on identifying conversations in social, the “Site:” search operator becomes a powerful tool indeed.
Read on for a closer look at how this all works.This Google search allowed our community manager to discover a recent conversation that took place on the New York Times Facebook page about wine:
Just think of how powerful this technique can be in the hands of a gregarious community manager, poised to conduct thoughtful person-to-person outreach. She could easily jump into such a themed public thread to participate in conversations with other users she already knows are both interested in specific topics and willing to publicly engage.
Not only can a savvy community manager mine individuals’ interests and participate in the thread, there’s a strong likelihood that he can DM (direct message) the Facebook user(s), dependent on each user’s privacy settings. Since Facebook is famous for defaulting new users to porous privacy settings, which include allowing non-friends to DM, the odds are good. There’s more ways to mine friend-leads. Follow the golden Facebook “Like this” path to find an entire list of Facebook users interested in the topic, whether or not they participated in the thread.
For community managers committed to proactive outreach and finding topically relevant and engaged users, the “Site:” search operator can be a conversational goldmine. It allows the CM to literally make lists of users to “get to know.”
The technique is much more powerful than just Facebook. Check out this “Site:” operator footprint, designed to locate 2011 YouTube comment threads surrounding Syrah-focused wine tasting.
The SERPs uncover a number of options for community manager comment-thread-diving. “Ancient Peaks Renegade Paso Wine” includes a worthy thread and a ton of related videos, several of which have great conversations to join and users to meet.
The “Site:” search operator works splendidly in nearly any language a search engine handles. But keep in mind, not every search engine indexes each publicly discoverable corner of all social sites. For reasons ranging from political (Baidu & Facebook) to business (Twitter fire hose & Google), it’s just not all there in every search engine. The “site:” search operator is a useful utility for figuring out what parts of what social community are indexed by each engine. Try the “site:” operator in Baidu for Facebook.com or Twitter.com to discover the effect Chinese government suffocating requirements have had on Baidu -COUGH-
Google’s Chrome Browser includes a deadeye translation tool. It’s not perfect, but the results are impressive. Check out this Baidu “Search:” query where we search b2b social media powerhouse alibaba.com for activity surrounding the Chinese character meaning “configuration.”
Since I don’t speak fluent Chinese, I’ll use the Chrome’s utility to translate.
Awesome, now we’ve got a starting point in alibaba.com to scope out activity surrounding the concept of “configuration.”
This search for “wine grower” in Russian, returns a sweet “Site:” SERP in Yandex. Using Chrome’s translate function, have a look in English.
It’s not hard to uncover a winery sporting a cool conversation to jump in to.
Yep, there are friends here to make for sure. After all, wine is a universal language!
Take this technique for a spin. Check out renren.com in Yandex to see what indexes, or LinkedIn.com/answers in Australian Google. After all, there might not be an SEO use to optimize public-facing areas of social media participation if the target engine does not index it. Try Russian or Italian keywords and take note of what indexes in Bing for Orkut or Xing.
The “Site:” search operator is a super useful tool to dissemble what parts of social media sites are indexed by search engines around the world. You’ll soon discover that most foreign ideations of Google handle most communities the same way. The “Site:” operator is also a powerful tool for identifying public conversations underway in various social communities. Leverage it to find users as well, for thoughtful engagement and even to send direct messages to, privacy as their settings allow.