Navigating HomeBrewTalk by Harnessing the Power of Google

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Search the forums and you will inevitably come across new threads asking the same questions over and over. Another certainty, a frustrated user will state something along the lines of "This has been answered millions of times, use the search function!" Avoiding the issue at-hand (Remember mother's words: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all") I want to help us all search HomeBrewTalk with greater efficiency and effectiveness - enter the power of Google.
Did you know, through the Google search engine, you can explicitly search within a single URL? I don't remember the day I learned about this, but as you can imagine, it was life changing. Much akin to the day I realized I could brew my own beer!
Here is how it works:
  1. Navigate to google.com (If you use the Google Chrome browser, you just start typing in the URL bar. Other browsers which have a Google search bar, you can type in your query there.)
  2. Enter site: www.homebrewtalk.com/ your query**
  3. Receive your HomeBrewTalk only search results in a few milliseconds! - Wow almost 25,000 results for HERMS on the forum!

Pretty cool, huh? Wait...there's more!
Sometimes I want to search for information which is more recent. Like many of us, I have come to realize that there are some homebrew myths out there which have been put the to the test and debunked. Maybe I want to know the current state of "No Sparge Efficiency." In this case, after executing the original search I will adjust the date through the search tools:
  1. Click on the Search Tools link. This will bring up another horizontal menu
  2. Click on the dropdown which currently reads Any Time
  3. Click the timeframe you would like the results to be filtered i.e. Past Year
  4. Notice all the returned results are from the past 365 days!

Okay, so if you are not impressed yet I may never be able to win you over, but I will try! Pictures are worth 1,000 words, right? I really love the DIY Forums and all the glorious imagery that comes along with it. I have used this numerous times while designing and dreaming about my home brewery and equipment. Sometimes I am trying to pinpoint information quickly and searching by images is faster. The steps for this could not be any easier:
  1. After executing the original search, Select the Images link underneath the search bar in Google

Voila! Tons of pictures of HERMS coils! See one you like, click on the picture and navigate to the images original source URL and you usually are greeted with someones detailed build thread.
Hope this is helpful to anyone looking to expand their searching capabilities and improve the speed at which they can find the information they need. Oh and just for kicks-and-giggles I decided to test all this out by searching "site:www.homebrewtalk.com/ this has been asked before use search" and the first returned result filtered on the past year was: "This has been discussed a lot in this forum, you can find several topics using the search function." I will state, the user in this example went on to provide an answer as well - good job!

**- Pro tip - you can narrow your searches down further by figuring out the sub forum url. For example, the Brew Stands sub forum in the DIY section has a direct URL of www.homebrewtalk.com/f253/ where f253 is URL synonym for the Brewstands forum. All the forums have an associate F#. Use these URLs and only receive results from the associated sub forum.
When he's not busy writing articles for HomeBrewTalk Brett Shegogue is writing for his blog, Shegogue Brew.
Please be sure to show our support by visiting and subscribing to his blog. Thanks go to Brett for helping us better understand how to navigate HomeBrewTalk as we see our annual influx of new brewers!

Thanks for the post. I love HBT but my irritation at the "...this has been asked before use search.." is only matched by my disappointment on the built in search tool. I understand that this is probably just the nature of the forum software and have taken to using google much in the way you describe.
The HBT search function has been absolutely ineffective for me, not only can I not find what I want, but I rarely get any results at all, just a blank page. Then I Google what I'm looking for and find what I want on HBT. Using this URL-specific searching will help a ton. Thanks!
Perhaps mac or Safari is different or my computer is just crazy. For this to work I have to enter it as HERMS site: www.homebrewtalk.com or else it works a a normal search.
Is it possible to make an article a "sticky"
This should be required reading for all new accounts.
One can read only so many repetitive questions before you start skipping them.
@EthanH - I understand the frustration, but I should clarify that is a vB function, and it's a terrible one.
@Cyclman - I'm posting this as a sticky to the Beginner's Forum now.
This is a great idea but it doesn't seem to work for me for some reason. I searched for
site: www.homebrewtalk.com/ porter
and from the 5th result on they're all links to other sites, not Homebrewtalk. Am I missing something?
The space matters, type site:www.homebrewtalk.com porter
Otherwise google thinks your doing a search for the keywords "site:", "www.homebrewtalk.com" and "porter".
<color=blue>@EthanH @FatDragon </color=blue>
You CAN do a Google search right from within Homebrewtalk. Instead of entering your search terms in the search box, click the dropdown menu next to the search field and enter your criteria into the Google search box.
I think this should be the default search method as the deafault search method is horrible.
I use this all the time.
FYI the Google option is available from within the Forums, but not from here in the Articles area.
That's fantastic but.....Having been a member here for almost 7 years let me tell you I can't imagine a brewing subject that hasn't been hashed/rehashed a hundred times. Then why even have a forum? Just search for your answer rather than actually post a question.
Also, you do not need the www. in there. You could search
site:homebrewtalk.com porter
and get topics/threads mentioning porters. If you want to search porters but not ones with peanut butter for example you could type
site:homebrewtalk.com porter -"peanut butter"
the - sign tells it to search for thing without the next word. +'s will do the opposite and require it have the thing following the +.
Thanks for the guidance. It's nice that you took the time to tell us how to search instead of having to read another ,rude, YOU NOT DOING IT RIGHT! I actually feel like I may find answers to questions without having to embarrass myself.