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.

  • Blog search

For now Google Blog Search appears to still be working, simply click the link and search for your “keyword”. Again the additional filters will help refine the results by relevancy, date or a even a specific time frame to help you find the most recent posts.

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.