Alternatives to discussion search filter

Looking for an alternative to ‘/?tbm=dsc’? Here are five different ways you can quickly, and easily, find conversations for your keywords.

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Last month the powers that be at Google dealt another blow to users by disabling the discussion search filter, but fear not, here are a few tricks for finding those elusive conversations.

If you’re unfamiliar with the discussion search filter, check out this blog post from Matt. Essentially, Google is making it harder to find topic specific conversations, whether it be on forums, blogs or other thread-based feeds.

However, as illustrated by my trusty ‘cycling shorts’ example, the tricks below should help you quickly, and easily, find discussions around your search queries:

Discussions button for Google Search

If you’re a fan of Chrome, give the Discussions button for Google Search a try! Once you’ve downloaded the button, Discussions will appear back in the ‘More’ menu on the Google search results, allowing you to search forums and message boards for up-to-date conversations.

Whilst Google has disabled the familiar Discussion search filter we all knew and loved, this button is an excellent workaround as it will modify your search query to generate relevant results.

Farewell, ‘/?tbm=dsc‘, and hello to ‘inurl:forum|viewthread|showthread|viewtopic|showtopic|”index.php?topic” | intext:”reading this topic”|”next thread”|”next topic”|”send private message”‘.

Doesn’t quite roll off the fingertips but does generate similar results…

'cycling shorts' - Google Discussion Search
'cycling shorts' - Google Discussion Search Results

keyword  intext:forum  “post” | inurl:forum | “posts:” | inurl:viewtopic’

Alternatively, the string above at the end of your search query will produce similar results by applying filters to the search results. For example:

'cycling shorts' Alternative Google Discussion Search

Remember to use the ‘Search tools’ to filter the results further, for example by country or date!

Google Search Result Filters

If the tricks above still aren’t quite producing the results you’re after, here are a few alternative searches for you to try:

submit comment + “keyword” or submit link + “keyword

This is great if you’re looking to comment on a particular topic. The results should provide you with a list of pages, including blog posts, around your keyword where it’s also possible to comment or add a link. No more wasting time reading posts to only get to the end and discover you can’t add your two cents.

“blog comments powered by Disqus” + “keyword

Do you have a Disqus profile? Then give the above a whirl! Adding comments to blog posts can be time consuming, especially when factoring in the registration and verification process before even being able to comment. For those who are a fan of Disqus the above should help you quickly find relevant posts to comment on through your profile.

Getting involved with discussions on blog posts and forums is an excellent way of staying up-to-date with the latest conversations. By understanding what users are talking about and the sentiment behind their views, you can get a much better idea of the industry as a whole. Use this invaluable insight to influence your marketing strategy and shape your positioning as a brand.

Do you have any other alternatives to discussion search? Comment below or tweet us @Browser_Media.

21 thoughts on “Alternatives to discussion search filter

  1. These are certainly great options. I create lots of personas as parts of a full Content Strategy, so Google Discussions was essential. Before I came across this post from Sophie, I went back to using the Solo SEO tool that I used back in 2006. The Chrome extension is actually very useful. Thanks Sophie!

  2. These are certainly great options. I create lots of personas as parts of a full Content Strategy, so Google Discussions was essential. Before I came across this post from Sophie, I went back to using the Solo SEO tool that I used back in 2006. The Chrome extension is actually very useful. Thanks Sophie!

  3. Hey Sophie, any recommendations for how any of these alternatives can include results from Yahoo Answers and AOL Answers?

    1. Hi Rudy! Thanks for the great feedback, glad to have helped. For Yahoo Answers, try “answers.yahoo.com” + “keyword”, e.g. “answers.yahoo.com” + “cycling shorts”. The first result is likely to be from answers.yahoo.com, with various posts underneath, however they will probably date back a few years. To get the most recent posts do the search again but click on ‘Search Tools’ and select ‘Past month’ (or your preferred date range). This will probably only show one or two results, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you may see, depending on your search term, ‘In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 5 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.’. Click on ‘repeat the search with the omitted results included’ and fingers crossed you’ll see more posts.

      As for AOL Answers, haven’t found a quick way of finding topic specific questions, I’ll update the post if I come across a solution.

  4. Hey Sophie, any recommendations for how any of these alternatives can include results from Yahoo Answers and AOL Answers?

    1. Hi Rudy! Thanks for the great feedback, glad to have helped. For Yahoo Answers, try “answers.yahoo.com” + “keyword”, e.g. “answers.yahoo.com” + “cycling shorts”. The first result is likely to be from answers.yahoo.com, with various posts underneath, however they will probably date back a few years. To get the most recent posts do the search again but click on ‘Search Tools’ and select ‘Past month’ (or your preferred date range). This will probably only show one or two results, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you may see, depending on your search term, ‘In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 5 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.’. Click on ‘repeat the search with the omitted results included’ and fingers crossed you’ll see more posts.

      As for AOL Answers, haven’t found a quick way of finding topic specific questions, I’ll update the post if I come across a solution.

  5. Hi Rudy! Thanks for the great feedback, glad to have helped. For Yahoo Answers, try “answers.yahoo.com” + “keyword”, e.g. “answers.yahoo.com” + “cycling shorts”. The first result is likely to be from answers.yahoo.com, with various posts underneath, however they will probably date back a few years. To get the most recent posts do the search again but click on ‘Search Tools’ and select ‘Past month’ (or your preferred date range). This will probably only show one or two results, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you may see, depending on your search term, ‘In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 5 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.’. Click on ‘repeat the search with the omitted results included’ and fingers crossed you’ll see more posts.

    As for AOL Answers, haven’t found a quick way of finding topic specific questions, I’ll update the post if I come across a solution.

    Hope the above helps!

  6. Hi Rudy! Thanks for the great feedback, glad to have helped. For Yahoo Answers, try “answers.yahoo.com” + “keyword”, e.g. “answers.yahoo.com” + “cycling shorts”. The first result is likely to be from answers.yahoo.com, with various posts underneath, however they will probably date back a few years. To get the most recent posts do the search again but click on ‘Search Tools’ and select ‘Past month’ (or your preferred date range). This will probably only show one or two results, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you may see, depending on your search term, ‘In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 5 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.’. Click on ‘repeat the search with the omitted results included’ and fingers crossed you’ll see more posts.

    As for AOL Answers, haven’t found a quick way of finding topic specific questions, I’ll update the post if I come across a solution.

    Hope the above helps!

  7. Hello Sophie.

    2 points I want to make:

    1.
    The Google Chrome extension you mentioned

    Discussions button for Google Search

    no longer works.

    Its icon fails to show up on my Google Chrome after installation.

    Unless you know there is a way to make it work without it showing up alongside my other Google Chrome extensions.

    But thanks for the suggestion.

    2.
    Those keywords search you mentioned,

    i.e.

    keyword intext:forum “post”|inurl:forum|”posts:”|inurl:viewtopic

    do not cover all possible forum discussions.

    Because many forums do not have those keywords.

    e.g.

    http://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/members/mj-demarco.1/

    But thanks for your efforts though.

    1. Hello Stairclimber,

      We can still the extension – there is no icon but you should get the ‘discussions’ option showing up in the ‘more’ drop down? Perhaps you have a local conflict that is stopping it working?

      You are right that the suggested searches do not cover all eventualities, but we hope that it is a useful start and the string can of course be manipulated to give other results.

      Thanks
      Joe

      1. Thanks a miliion , Joe.

        Now I understand.

        By the way,

        This is the closest replacement I can find so far for finding blog discussion content that Google blog search did so well before.

        Tawqer, the World talking in real time
        http://tawqer.com/
        Explore live opinions behind the news. See what’s trending.

        Any other idea?

  8. Hello Sophie.

    2 points I want to make:

    1.
    The Google Chrome extension you mentioned

    Discussions button for Google Search

    no longer works.

    Its icon fails to show up on my Google Chrome after installation.

    Unless you know there is a way to make it work without it showing up alongside my other Google Chrome extensions.

    But thanks for the suggestion.

    2.
    Those keywords search you mentioned,

    i.e.

    keyword intext:forum “post”|inurl:forum|”posts:”|inurl:viewtopic

    do not cover all possible forum discussions.

    Because many forums do not have those keywords.

    e.g.

    http://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/members/mj-demarco.1/

    But thanks for your efforts though.

    1. Hello Stairclimber,

      We can still the extension – there is no icon but you should get the ‘discussions’ option showing up in the ‘more’ drop down? Perhaps you have a local conflict that is stopping it working?

      You are right that the suggested searches do not cover all eventualities, but we hope that it is a useful start and the string can of course be manipulated to give other results.

      Thanks
      Joe

      1. Thanks a miliion , Joe.

        Now I understand.

        By the way,

        This is the closest replacement I can find so far for finding blog discussion content that Google blog search did so well before.

        Tawqer, the World talking in real time
        http://tawqer.com/
        Explore live opinions behind the news. See what’s trending.

        Any other idea?

Comments are closed.

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