Thursday, 17 March 2011

What Does a Google URL mean? Part II

As mentioned in What Does a Google URL mean? Part I, every query we ask Google to run is represented with a URL that points to a results page, these URL’s are not static, but dynamic links which are continually updated and therefore provide real time results. 

To fully maximize the use of our Boolean operators and Google queries we must understand the URL Syntax Google uses.  Let’s start with the first part of the URL, the location of Google’s search script:

As you can see if you follow the above link you are taken to a blank Google search page.  This blank Google search page can be likened to a “?” that we use in everyday language; it is from this point we can delve deeper into the World Wide Web.

Now we are ready to question or query Google we must provide a set of Parameters which instruct the search script, basically tell it what to do and conduct the search we want.  Parameters are separated by the ampersand (&) and consist of a variable followed by an equal sign (=) which is followed by the value that the variable should be set to:

*where a and b are both values

This is the part of the post I have been dreading and where all you techies and geeks will shoot me down!  If you look at the URL of any Google search you have conducted you will probably notice the use of special characters such as the percentage sign (%) and numbers this is hexadecimal you can read more about Hexidecimal, base 16 or Hex at Wikipedia  Lucky enough for us non techies most browsers support a auto correcting feature so we don’t need to worry about all that geeky Hex coding!

I hope you are still with me on this, the end is insight!  So why is all this relevant?  Generally our base or starting URL will come from a search submitted into the Google Web interface using our Boolean operators such as AND, NOT & OR and commands such as site: and link:  by looking at the Google URL we are then able to add parameters, change values of parameters, modify and delete parameters and resubmit the search by pressing enter.  Parameters can be added to the base URL in any order.

Here is a list of some of Google’s search parameters I find useful:

q or as_q                      A search query

as_eq                           A search term                          Terms will be excluded from the                                                        search

start                             0 to max number of hits          Result 0 is 1st result on page 1

num maxResults          1 to 100                                   Number results per page max 100

filter                            0 to 1                                       Filter set to 0, show potential                                                             duplicate results

restrict                         restrict code                            Restrict results to a specific country

as_epq                         a search phrase                        Value is submitted as exact phrase,                                                    no need for phrase with quotes e.g.                                                    “software engineer”

as_ft                            i = include file type                 include or exclude the file type as e= exclude file type                     by indicated as_filetype

as_filetype                   a file extension                        use above

as_qdr                         all – all results                         locate pages within a specified time m3 = 3 months              frame
                                    m6 = 6 months
                                    y = past year

as_nlo                          low number                             find numbers between as_nlo and                                                      as_nhi

as_nhi                          high number                            find numbers between as_nlo and                                                      as_nhi

as_oq                           a list of words                         find at least one of these words

as_occt                        any = anywhere                       find a search term in a specific     title = tile of page              location
                                    body = text of page
                                    url = in URL of page
                                    links = in links to the page

as_dt                           i = only include site/domain    include or exclude searches from
e = exclude site/domain          domain specified by as_sitesearch

as_sitesearch               domain or site                         include or exclude this domain or
site as specified by as_dt

as_rq                            URL                                        locate pages similar to this URL

as_lq                            URL                                        locate pages that link to this URL

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