How to write queries

One of my goals in doing this site is to give my advice on solid, common-sense search engine optimization (SEO). Along the way, you’ll pick up how to do a decent job of detecting spam. I’ll also mention some specific “high risk” techniques and give the reasons why I’d avoid them. But let’s start with something quick: how to write queries. At Google, we use [ and ] to mark the beginning and end of queries. So [“scorpio submarine”] means to do a phrase search for “scorpio submarine”, while [scorpio submarine] means just to type in those words without the quotes–you leave the brackets out when you actually do the search. If you’re writing on a forum or communicating with someone at Google, it’s less ambiguous. Because I’ve seen Googlers using that syntax for years, I usually assume that someone using [ and ] knows what they’re talking about. Try it out–I think you’ll like it. If you want to get a headstart on future spam detecting posts, I recommend starting with a little Firefox extension you’ll find with the query [prefbar].

Also, I went to bed a little disappointed–no comments on the blog? This morning, my subconscious mind slapped me about the head and woke me up: Matt, you have to go and approve comments, remember? Geez, what a hoser. So I did a first pass at that, and I’ll tackle some of the questions in later posts. I’m sorry that I don’t have the cycles to give advice about specific sites; I have to tackle issues/questions that will help several people at once. I just wanted to set expectations in advance on that.