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There are two monthly events that I especially look forward to these days. One is the meeting of PALA (Publisher’s Association of Los Angeles), of which I’m a member, and the other is the arrival of this fabulous PMA Newsletter. Both provide a wealth of inspiration and information that lets me know I’m not on this self-publishing journey alone.

After a speaker at a recent PALA meeting told us about a Google search engine command that’s useful to publishing businesses, I did a little research of my own to explore it and to see what else Google had to offer me.

Here are some of the search options that I have found useful.

To improve placement. Getting a high placement ranking in Google depends partly on how many sites are linked to you. To find out which sites are, use Google’s link query: link:siteURL (for example, link:pma-online.org shows all pages pointing to PMA’s Web site). The link query also provides a good way to see who’s linked to your competition.

To find a particular phrase or person. If you’re searching for an exact phrase or name, enclose it in quotation marks. If you want information about a specific person, include details that will help screen out people with similar names. For instance, if you were searching for my name, using my middle initial–“Sherry Y. Smith”–would give you better results than using just “Sherry Smith.”

 

To zero in on certain Web pages. To find certain types of Web pages or to get the title of a Web page, use the intitle operand. For example, you can type intitle:”three blind mice” to identify pages about those rodents. And you can then type intext:”three blind mice” to get the text of these pages. You can also specify an extension with intitle to find certain types of pages. If you wanted scholarly pages about Mark Twain, you’d use intitle:”Mark Twain” site:edu.

To find related Web sites. Use the related operand, which would be related:www.pma.org if you wanted sites relevant to the PMA site.

To find a particular image. Google lets you view more than 425 million images. Start your search at http://images.google.com.

To track certain sites. Google Alert (www.googlealert.com) is one of my favorite parts of the site. The description says, “You can use Google Alert to track mentions of your name, your website, your place of work . . . the uses are limited only by your imagination.” Google tracks on a daily basis and e-mails you each time a new result appears.

To use Google on your Web site free.You can even allow users to perform Google searches directly from your Web page. Sign up at www.google.com/services/free.html.

To learn more. You can find additional information and search techniques at www.google.com/about.html and www.google.com/help/interpret.html; the latter offers advice on how to interpret your search results.

Enjoy your searching. I hope you find Google as helpful as I do for writing and publishing endeavors.

Sherry Y. Smith is the owner of Infinite Love Publishing and the author of Bedroom Pleasures . . . 40 Ways Men Succeed in Bed. Her newest book, Bedroom Passions . . . 40 Ways Women Succeed in Bed, is due out later this year. For more information, visit www.40ways.com.

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