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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Let Google’s Creative Commons Search Find You

Google allows you to search specifically for free-to-share content. Just select e.g. “free to use or share or modify” from the usage rights box in the advanced search options. Yahoo has a similar option.

So how can you make sure your site is found with that search option? When I switched to Creative Commons-licensing for this blog a while ago, I figured Google would understand the change, ’cause I linked to the Creative Commons page identifying the usage rights. But doing a site-search on this blog recently ( showed that no page was found using the CC option. I then included the full meta data of the license onto every page of this blog (you can copy the meta data from the Creative Commons website after choosing your license) ...

<!-- <rdf:RDF xmlns="" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:rdf=""> <Work rdf:about=""> <license rdf:resource="" /> </Work> <License rdf:about=""><permits rdf:resource=""/><permits rdf:resource=""/><requires rdf:resource=""/><requires rdf:resource=""/><prohibits rdf:resource=""/><permits rdf:resource=""/></License></rdf:RDF> -->

... and shortly thereafter, a CC search on this blog returns 180 results on Google, so that works. Another change I made is to use the “rel” attribute in the link to the Creative Commons page, and to wrap the link with CC comments (<!--Creative Commons License-->like this<!--/Creative Commons License-->), either one of which might have triggered the change as well.

Comparing the Google page count for a search for “the” (in different languages), we can see that about 0.6%* of all webpages so far also include a CC license.

*A search for [the | der | le | la | 1] returned 15,080,000,000 results not filtered by license, and 84,700,000 results free to use or share (“free to use or share” is a subset of “not filtered by license”, and e.g. “free to use, share or modify, even commercially is a subset of “free to use or share”).


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