Are you a new user wondering if a question has been asked before? Are you a veteran who wants to update an answer from a few days back? Are you a student who wants to know every answer ever given to your assigned question? Look no further because Ryan has you covered!
Why do we ask questions on Active Rain? Most commonly we are seeking the advice of our peers, we have questions about a product or technology, or we are students directed to ask a question. Wouldn't it be nice if we could search Active Rain's Q&A section to see if a question has been asked recently? Wouldn't it be AWESOME for our student friends to be able to not only ask their question, but to see the answers to all the questions asked before? Talk about getting a large sample size for class!
I'm here to tell you that not only is this possible, but it's even easier than you'd think! For this blog, I will use three user studies:
- The agent who wants to know about CRM technology
- The agent who wants to know about Top Producer CRM specifically and
- The student who wants to know all about water rights
You may be thinking "Hey Ryan, how are you going to get 500 words on 'Use the search bar in the upper right hand corner'", well it isn't as easy as that! Let's take a look at the three searches done through that bar.
|The CRM||Top Producer||Water Rights|
Let us look at the results, shall we:
- CRM: 3,500 results, some ads, some links to product reviews, and some questions. Not bad, but you only get TWO questions on page one. Helpful overall, but if you are focusing on questions, not so much.
- Top Producer: 13,600 results, some ads, some product reviews, the top producer profile, a contest, a couple blogs and what looks like maybe one or two questions. Helpful overall, but if you are focusing on questions, not so much.
- Water rights: 31,100 results, no ads, mostly blogs about listings, one maybe two questions and a profile of a user with water rights in their profile name. Useless for the student, but for one search result.
Ok, by now you are probably wondering "Ryan, how can you improve upon this?" The answer my friends is by use of "Advanced Google Search Techniques." Don't let the name fool you, these are so "advanced" that anyone can do them!
One of Google's techniques is called the "Site filter." This returns only those search results that start with a specific web address. First we need to know the address we want to filter by. To get that, just go to the Q&A Home Page and you'll see the address below.
To use this for the Q&A section, goto Google.com and type into the Google search bar "site:activerain.com/questions" followed by a space and the term you wish to look for.
If we do this for the three target searches, we'll get the below results
|CRM||Top Producer||Water Rights|
Now let's examine these results:
- CRM: 454 results with one ad from a company likely purchasing a Google Adword for CRM. Lots of good questions here!
- Top Producer: 322 results. I put "Top Producer" in quotes to focus Google on the entire phrase, not questions with either word in them. That's another "Advanced" technique. One adword ad and a lot of questions and answers!
- Water Rights: 49 results were returned. Some adwords here for attorneys specializing in water rights and every response a student could possibly want about water rights! You'll notice that I highlighted a "Search Tools" and "Any Time". Search Tools is a filter that is available for all Google Searches. Clicking on that allows you to filter results to a specific time window, which can be useful if you are searching for recent questions on a topic. Another "Advanced" technique, free of charge!
Now yo may be wondering "Since Google powers the Active Rain search bar, can't we just type in the site filter into there?" The answer is yes you can. However, when I tested it I received drastically different results! Below is what a screenshot of the search for CRM done through the Active Rain search bar with the site filter.
Yes, if you look at it you'll see it returned a whole 82 results compared to the 454 results that searching in Google directly returned! That's a HUGE difference if you ask me!
I hope you find this blog useful. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think and if you've had any success using this technique.