When executing a Google search, one is presented with a statistic that reports the number of results that were found and the time it took to find them. For example:
This statistic is frustrating because it shows that there is a whole universe of results out there but only the smallest fraction of results is presented for examination.
TSRP Topic Search Report Processor
This frustration has motivated me to develop an Excel-based process that attempts to expand the collection of search results.
The process is built on two main ideas:
Formulate a “Composite Topic Search”
Make use of the Google Search Engine for both “All” and “Image” search choices. This new process supersedes the original GISP reported earlier.
A “Composite Topic Search” is a search that starts with a collection of search phrases that explore various aspect of the topic of interest. The individual search results are then collected and organized into a composite report.
Making the individual search using both the Google All Search and Google Image Search Engines gives an expanded collection of results.
I have joined these ideas together into what I call the Topic Search Report Processor (TSRP)
How to start TSRP – the Topic Search Workbook
The TSRP begins by preparing an Excel Workbook that contains a collection of search phrases or search strings that capture the essence of the desired Topic. A preliminary set of search strings can be extracted from Google.
For example, consider the following topic: how to exchange worksheet data with VBA arrays
After the search string is entered into the Google search box, Google will sometimes display a collection of searches that complement the original search.
Here is a screenshot of the suggested searches:
Using a screen capture tool to copy this list as an image, one can then take advantage of the OCR functionality that is built into Microsoft One Note 2016
OCR capabilities are also available within the GreenShot freeware utility. ( http://getgreenshot.org/)
Two Important Definitions
Before describing the details of the GISP Reports, there are two terms that need to be defined.
A Direct URL is a URL captured by GISP, pointing directly to the web page that was discovered by GISP.
A Primary URL is the leftmost part of a Direct URL with the html prefix HTTPS:// or HTTP:// removed.
The VBA code to extract a Primary URL from a Direct URL is as follows:
Reporting Search String Counts
The Search String Counts report shows the effectiveness of each search string.
Note – the information shown here is from an earlier effort that does not reflect the integration of searching Google “All” and Google “Image”
This Topic Search returned 172 Primary URLs.
The first page of the Search String Counts report is shown here.
All counts greater than or equal to 5 are highlighted.
The three main features of this report are:
- It identifies the more effective search strings and it gives a starting point to expand the Topic Search.
- By ranking the Primary URLs from the most frequently found to the ones that are not frequently visited or not widely known, it identifies the outstanding resources to study a Topic.
- Reviewing the list of Primary URLs and looking for those that are not frequently visited or not widely known, lead to the discovery of new resources.
Since the report is presented as a PDF, each URL reported is a hyperlink.
Clicking on the URL will then open your browser to the web page.
Note that not all the Primary URLs will link back to a web page, it all depends on the setup of the web site.
Reporting Direct URLs
The Direct URLs report show the full URL with the different search strings that returned the URL.
The list of Direct URLs is sorted to follow the Rank of the Primary URLs.
This Topic search returned 399 URLs.
The first few rows of the Direct URLs report are shown here:
The combined titles are most important when reviewing the YOUTUBE URLs.
Both reports were exported from the GISP Composite Topic Search Report Workbook. This workbook can be used to generate other customized reports.