Your Search History and Metrics

booleanstrings Boolean

search history

Those of us who save Google searches usually keep them in a text file vs. an MS Word file, to avoid issues caused by auto-formatting. (By the way, if you haven’t noticed, Google is processing “curly quotation marks” all right now, in the same way as straight quotation marks; but if a minus is converted to a dash, your strings will be “misunderstood”).

Whether you have been saving your strings or not – did you know that Google saves your complete search history? Even if you delete the browsing history, your searches remain saved – here:

history.google.com

Here, you can look at your searches for a given period of time, see which links you clicked on search result pages, and review some statistics, such as the number of searches and most often accessed websites:

history

(The above screenshot shows my saved history for the past year.)

The search history links “remember” your searches along with any parameters, such as searching “verbatim” or image search. (This is an advantage over saving strings as text since in a text file the search parameters are lost).

Further, you can search within your past searches. For example, you can narrow it down to only searches that include “LinkedIn”. (Note that searching within search strings is not Boolean, it just looks for an AND combination of keywords.)

You can also export your search history. The export comes in the JSON format, that you can convert to Excel CSV format by using one of online conversion tools, such as this one – JSON to CSV.

Once you have your search history in CSV, you can also look at some search metrics. For example, you can find your personal statistics on using Boolean syntax, such as X-Raying; the frequency of using specific keywords; your typical search strings length in words; etc.

When you look at your search history – what stands out? Feel free to share some stats, interesting search strings kept in your history, or your ideas about useful metrics, in the comments.

For more advanced Googling tips, sign up for the upcoming webinar – “Advanced Google-Based Sourcing” – January 27, 2016.