Quick Ways to Utilize These 4 Non-Google Search Engines

Non-Google search engines are a beautiful thing – and no, I’m not talking about Yahoo or Bing.

I’m talking about other search engines that you can use to discover a ton of valuable information about the niche you’re in.

I guarantee that you’ve heard of these search engines before, although you probably never thought of them primarily as search engines:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • iTunes

Let’s go one-by-one through each to discover how we can utilize these search engines to enhance our own websites, blogs and brands.

YouTube as a Search Engine

YouTube is a GIANT search engine, which just so happens to be owned by Google, but instead of websites, we get videos.

The first thing I like to do is just simply type in keywords related to my niches into YouTube’s search field, and see what comes up.

Right away, you’ll be able to notice a few things:

  1. What people are talking about when it comes to your niche. This is especially useful if you’re just starting out, because you can immediately get inspiration and ideas for content.
  2. Who else is in your niche. You might be able to find some major players that are using YouTube as their primary media outlet. If so, you may want to get to know them a little better, or even find a way to contact them for future collaboration. If they’ve got subscribers, you’ve got the potential to grab them for your own by posting video responses or comments to their videos, or possibly getting mentioned in a future upload.
  3. What’s missing from your niche on YouTube. Websites are easy to create, but videos are another story. Many topics and subjects are only lightly touched upon in YouTube videos, so if you find a hole in your niche, fill it. When I first heard the term “Facebook Landing Page”, I immediately looked it up on YouTube to see if there were any good tutorial videos about how to make a Facebook Landing Page. There were none, so I created my own. My video about Facebook Landing Pages is my most popular, and it even shows up twice in the SERPS for “Facebook Landing Page” – the top spot, and another one below. This drives a ton of traffic back to SPI.

youtube search engine results

Tip: When you’re searching for various terms, you can change the “search options” after you get your results to view which ones are the most viewed, most recent and/or which ones have the highest rating, to help you explore your niche even further.

Twitter as a Search Engine

This microblogging platform is indeed a search engine, and what’s really cool about it is that you can search for things in real time. In other words, you can see how people are talking about the term you search for at the very moment you click search.

I don’t think Twitter even knew how powerful their platform would be for searching for this kind of real time information, because when they first launched the only search bar was in the sidebar of each profile. Now, the homepage of Twitter is a giant real-time search hub, with the hottest/latest tweets and trends right there next to a very obvious search bar.

twitter search engineApparently, the show Jersey Shore is a trending topic today.

How wonderful.

Anyways, the obvious thing we can do is put in our primary keywords, and see what comes up. Because this is a general search for your term, you’ll get a number of different kinds of tweets from people. You’ll get people who are asking questions, giving answers, posting links and resources, ranting, raving, conversing, etc.

Some of that may be useful to you, but if you want to get some targeted real time information about your keyword, you can try adding additional terms such as:

  • “keyword” “need help” – to see what people need help with
  • “keyword” “what is” – to see what people are trying to find answers for
  • “keyword” “i hate” – to see what people hate about the keyword
  • keyword” “i love” – to see what people love about the keyword
  • “keyword” “can’t” – to see what people can’t do related to your keyword
  • “keyword” “bit.ly” – to see what links people have been posting related to your keyword
  • “keyword” “twitpic.com” – to see what pictures people have been posting up related to your niche

…and the list goes on and on. I’m sure you can think of hundreds of additional terms to use to hone in on important information about your niche – and especially your target audience and exactly how they think.

Facebook as a Search Engine

Facebook. It’s where we hang out and play, and stalk people all day.

Joking aside, beyond a Business Page on Facebook for your website, we can utilize Facebook by using the search engine located at the top of the page.

Simply type in your keywords, and see what comes up. Actually, before you even press enter to perform the search, you’ll see a slew of pages, groups and activities that relate to your niche.

passive income search on facebook

These are all fantastic places to meet new people, exchange ideas and get inspiration for content.

I’ve also used many of the groups and pages I’ve found on Facebook to help promote some of my LEED products. I usually include a special discount just for people from Facebook (using a unique coupon code), so I know exactly how many customers actually came from these postings of mine. To be honest with you, a lot of my customers came from Facebook.

iTunes as a Search Engine

Finally, we have Apple’s iTunes.

iTunes isn’t just for finding cool music or television. We can use it to find relevant podcasts that we should definitely be paying attention to. I’ve just discovered this world of podcasting, it’s potential, and just how massive some podcasters’ audiences are on iTunes, and how much influence and authority they’ve earned as well.

Some podcasts have tens of thousands of subscribers, so if you could somehow land a guest spot on a top show in your niche, or simply get mentioned – you could potentially drive a lot of direct traffic to your site. If not, you’d at least know who the top players are, and you can use them for inspiration for content creation, or even contact them through their website (listed in iTunes), or a message line and network with them or find a potential JV partner or new advertiser.

Additionally, you can find holes to fill if you’re up to starting a podcast yourself.

online business search itunes

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, just as much as I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Stay tuned for the 2nd Session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast this coming Monday.


  • http://www.businessjolt.com James Dyson

    Great post Pat, I like your take on looking at these alternative search engines. From a marketers perspective I’m also looking at these from a traffic perspective and looking at how I can use these different places in my business to distribute my content and funnel people back to my sites


  • http://www.youngprepro.com/subscribe Onibalusi Bamidele

    Wow! Really great tips Pat!

    I have never thought about using twitter as a search engine before, this is really killer info.

    Thanks a lot for the great post,

    BTW: I commented on thrre of your recent articles before this but they are not working, you might want to try “conditional captcha” wordpress plugin to stop spam permanently. I have had no spam comments since using it.

    • http://www.tacticalcashflow.com Howie

      Did you try to leave a link in your comment, Onibalusi? I’ve found that, if you try to do that, ‘sometimes’ a comment won’t post. I quickly got into the habit of just “cutting” my comment, before submission, so, if it doesn’t accept, I can just ‘paste’ it and give it another shot (without having to rewrite it all again).

      • http://www.youngprepro.com/subscribe Onibalusi Bamidele

        No Howie,

        I didn’t, I think it was akismet’s problem.

        I have contacted akismet and they tell me it is now resolved.

        Thanks a lot,

  • http://www.tacticalcashflow.com Howie

    Great post, yet again, Pat! It’s amazing how utterly reliant we have become on these social media tools, however, I’m sure few think of the potential goldmine of information that can be had simply by using their respective search queries. Had you the time, you probably could have made this post 7,000 words, expanding even into other Web 2.0 social media/rev share sites (that I’m always ecstatic about…lol), like Squidoo and eHow.

    The truth is, anywhere there is an aggregation of people, sharing information and knowledge, the $mart marketer can find a million different tactics and strategies to use the inherent functionality of the site to get to better know them. Whether it be a blog or a product, if you truly KNOW people, you can market to them a million times better and also establish and reinforce your brand.

    P.s. Looking forward to the next installment of your Podcast, Pat!

    • http://www.my4hrworkweek.com Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek

      So it sounds like you mostly only favor Squidoo and eHow?

      …Just kidding. 😉

      • http://www.tacticalcashflow.com Howie

        lol….I can overdue it sometimes with my Info Barrel promotion, Eric…it just that, sometimes, when I feel so strongly about something, I just don’t shut up about it…

        (Just ask Pat….I’ve been yapping his ear off about it since last August…lol)

  • http://www.making-your-own-website.com Nabeel | Create Your First Website

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for sharing these 4 non-google search engines.

    I really liked the Twitter part, especially the methods to get “targeted real time information”. I never knew this, so this will be a big help.


    • http://www.getbesthomebusiness.com/ Sammy | Best Home Business

      I have tried the Twitter search but not extensively. However what I find is that when I type in a keyword (even with some extensions as Pat suggested) all I can get are the marketers who are promoting their product. For example, type in “how to make money online” in twitter search, sure enough you will get lot of results and very much real time. But very few of those are tweets by actual seekers. Almost all of them are promoting some or the other product.
      Makes it futile effort….

      • Pat

        I haven’t had time today to respond to all of the comments, but I wanted to take time to respond to Sammy really quick.

        In the example you use, “how to make money online”, of course you’re going to get all of the internet marketers and their promotions and links, because that’s all those people do, and people don’t just type in how to make money online into their tweets, you have to think like the people in your niche who have a need.

        For example, if you type in:

        “need help” “puppy”

        …you’ll see a number of people who need help training their dogs, or need help naming them. Some people I see even say they need help because their dog barks too much, or is too aggressive. One person I even found needed help because her dog humped people too much. These are all things people are looking for solutions for.

        Just an example, but my 2 cents.

  • http://www.lickshunmewah.com Michael

    Pat, this is invaluable. What about twitter ‘advanced search’ option?
    Another kick ass post, dude!

  • http://zenbizaction.com Michael Mindes


    I am currently in the process of hiring a virtual assistant / researcher, and I will have to add these type of searches to their research responsibilities. The typical problem with doing these type of searches for market research is that they are time intensive.

    With a good model and a little effort, you could easily hire somebody full time (160 hours per month) for as little as $200 USD. If you choose to pay more (say $500 USD), then you will be able to get somebody with AMAZING skills.

    The key to long-term success is to “see a need, fill a need”:

    1. Research and find areas to help and improve the lives of others.
    2. Take action to provide the solutions that you discovered need filling.
    3. Go back to step 1

  • http://www.technshare.com Dev – Technshare.com

    Hey pat,

    Awesome Post. I really like the facebook and twitter part.
    Thanks for sharing this great Post Pat. Really awesome work.


  • http://www.my4hrworkweek.com Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek

    Nice post, Pat. I’ve always known that these sites contain search engines, but I’ve never really thought about using them for niche research. Cool stuff.

    I think I read somewhere that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, which is of course funny because Google is #1. So, they essentially own the top 2 spots.

    I don’t mean to go off on a tangent here (wait, yes I do), but soon Yahoo and Bing will be combining their search engines (i.e. both will show the same results, although they will remain separate websites), which could make research and SEO a bit more interesting as people figure out how to exploit this change.

    – Eric

  • http://www.tacticalcashflow.com Howie

    Check this out, Pat…

    …not sure if you knew this or not (I recall you mentioning the 10-minute time limit allocation for YouTube videos before…), but, yesterday, YouTube announced that it would be increased to 15 minutes…thought that might come in handy (if you didn’t know it already…)


  • http://www.website-repair-shop.com Edgar

    hey Pat,

    Been reading your posts for a while and decided to comment on all the great information you provide, with all the junk on the internet, its nice to find something of good quality.

    I will have to start working on some videos for youtube and also use the other search engines, again thanks for the great information.


  • http://www.workinonmyfitness.com Susan

    Great post, Pat! I really like the idea of leaving video responses of videos you may have found on YouTube. Also, finding what isn’t covered and fill in that gap. I’ve been stuck in a content rut so this is definitely helpful! Yay! :)

  • TrafficColeman

    Super Pat,

    I must say I been using YouTube for sometime now and its been a mixed relationship. My first channel had over 9,678 subscribers, 143 video uploads and over 1.2 million hits. I was netting about $4,000 a month with it, and this was back in 2008.

    But one day I got up and my whole account was gone, and I was like what just happen. So I tried to contact YouTube in which there is no # to really call to get In touch with them.

    I then turned and did some research to see if this ever happen to anyone else, because I said to myself if this happen to me when I did nothing wrong..then i know that it must be other victims. All the videos where all mines done from my office at home. I use no music in those videos which only contained how to videos on building a business online.

    Now that channel has been gone for over a yr and a half now, and yes I do miss that easy income I was making, but thank god I never used it as my main sourcut of traffic.

    Pat I tell members of my email list that they should use YouTube, be use it as a stepping stone..not as a bed to lay in. Always focus on the things you can control, like you blog and the on site seo.

    These are the things that no one can ever take away from you.

    Pat I wasn’t disagreeing on your great post here..I just wanted to share my story so your readers can just be aware that things like this do happen.

    P.S. Pat I’m working on an awesome article to my blog that will be releases sometime next week..which will contain “The Top Educational Bloggers of 2010” I will send you an link to it once its complete. I will love for you give an quota or a video response so I can add to the article under your listing.

    Thanks Pat for another remarkable post..you do add value online.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • http://www.runjimmyrun.com Jimmy @ Run, Jimmy, Run

    What an absolute gem of a post, Pat! It’s funny, I use all of these sites / applications on a regular basis, but I never really considered using them as a tool to drum up ideas for my posts. Genius!

  • http://www.creatingmyempire.com Dustin Stevens-Baier

    Thanks for the article. I had never considered them as a search engine. Very creative.

  • http://wilsonusman.com wilson@wilsonusman

    Excellent!!! People should really use these, I just discovered itunes search engine when I when to search for yours on itunes and it was crazy how many great stuff was hidden in there.

    Thanks for the insight. I don’t know if yahoo answers counts as a search engine or all these other ask a question websites would count, I like to find out what people are asking, and I like to use the following.


  • http://ultimatemailinglist.com/ Shaun @ UML

    Nice, some of these provide a great way to research your competition and get new ideas. I’ve used Facebook for this purpose before, but those Twitter ideas is something I’ll have to check out…

  • http://fidelisartprints.com Karen at fidelisartprints.com

    HI Pat! Another killer post! This is great intel, that I know my readers will want to hear about. Over at Fidelis Art our readers are always looking for new ways to market their fine art. Finding galleries, art shows and art groups in Facebook will be great for building art communities and sharing ideas. I’m also going to apply this same principle to Flickr and see what happens—I’ll keep you posted on the results! Thanks again. [email protected]

  • http://profitablemommyblogging.com Keisha

    Lately I had been experimenting with Twitter’s search engine with my keywords(even though I wasn”t thinking of it as a search engine LOL). But the list of keyword strings you suggested is smart because that can pull up a wealth of information across different groups. I plan to try the “I need help” soon. What better way to connect with someone than by helping them out. Brilliant!

  • Omar

    Wow Pat never thought of using any of those as a search engine, much less for research.

  • http://babyboomertalkonline.com Boomer54 Mark


    Just was introduced to you from the post 50 Netsetters by Jade Craven. This was an excellent post and very relevant. People whether they know it or not are moving away from Google as their only influence on “how to find what they are looking for”.

    I know I use Twitter and Facebook now for recommendations instead of immediately going to Google for the answer.

    I hope your readers realize what a terrific post this was, and how useful this post is in how to take action to use these sites as tools in their blogging businesses.

    I am now hooked on your site!


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  • http://www.peterthomson.com Passive Income

    Great Post! I’ve never thought of using these as search engines! Makes sense though really! Thanks again, i’m going to give this a go now!

  • http://caseyfriday.com Casey Friday

    This is fantastic information. Thanks for sharing! I wish more people would start iTunes podcasts to accompany their blogs. I just found yours a few day ago, and it adds oodles of quality to your brand.

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  • Callum

    Fantastic, very handy.

  • http://www.paulcaparas.com/ Paul Caparas

    Hey Pat, great post. I’ve been focusing on google so much that I never took a step back and looked at my other options.

    FYI, I just listened to your first podcast. Good job.

    Paul Caparas

  • http://evengrounds.com/blog Julius

    I like your point about YouTube. I’d like to add that when you find a video in your niche, you can try to see what can be improved in that video and use this info in the video posts you’ll be making.

  • http://sincitytrifecta.com Adam Dukes

    Brilliant! I would have never thought of YouTube/iTunes for Search Engines. Thank you!

  • http://workfromhomesuccesszone.com Chris G | Work From Home Blog

    Great Post Pat! Yeah, I never really thought about using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as a means to find ideas to write about. Great tip!



  • http://www.buzzingup.com Susan

    Great writing about search engines changing the way search was done in past. Twitter is definitely going good and is already listed as the second largest search engine on the web, and yes YouTube is considered as Google property so its not listed separately. Check this out. Twitter now second largest seach engine

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  • http://www.crunchbase.com/person/tej-kohli Tej Kohli

    hey that’s every though provoking…i never saw twitter and you tube as a search engine…thank you for changing my perspective

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  • http://www.zaczac-zarabiac.pl Robert

    That’s a great way to increase traffic to my blog, especially now, when I resigned with Blogger and have my own domain.


  • http://www.escobaragency.com Amanda Austin

    this article is very in formative this will be a great help to those people that is new in a SEO world.

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