Google has made searching the vast amount of content on the internet pretty straight forward. You can make your search as broad or as narrow as you want. Searching for “cats” will provide you with a high number of search results – way more than will be useful and at this point you would want to narrow down your search.
There are many ways of doing this, but initially there are some fundamental Google search rules which will make your life much easier:
- Search terms aren’t case sensitive, Google considers uppercase and lowercase letters to be the same
- Your searches are limited to ten words, everything after this is ignored
- Try to spell words correctly, Google even helps as you won’t get the same search results if they are wrong
- Try not to be too vague, the more specific your search they better the results are likely to be
- Google ignores punctuation, so no need for , “ ; : etc, but it does take note of – and ‘ (see operators later in the article)
- The order of words are important to Google, the first word being the one given the most importance and so on
- Google doesn’t recognize most common and short words like “the, and, or, in etc”, it will also warn you at the top of the results if they have been excluded automatically from your search term.
- Google will utilize AND and OR in a search string if it is capatilised
That’s the basics over with, now let’s get on to the good stuff.
- Use Quotations to “Be Specific”
Using quotation marks in your search term lets you search exactly for that word(s). For example searching for “cats and dogs” will result in pages with “cats and dogs” on the page, not just “cats” or “dogs”
- The ‘-‘ (minus) character
If you don’t want to exclude a term or word from your search, enter the ‘-‘ character followed by the unwanted characters in the search box, these words will be removed from you search results. An example would be imextechnical.co.uk –cloud This would exclude any pages with the term “cloud” from the search results.
- Site specific searches
So you have found a site you like the look of and which looks like it has good, trustworthy content, you can now search just that particular site for the required information. For example if you wanted to search IMEX’s site for all content related to cloud backup, you could use the following search term:
- Range feature (..)
These are great if you want to search for references between two numbers, years or price would be good examples but certainly not the limits or where it could be used.The following search term will find films by acclaimed producer Tarantino which were made between 1995 and 2010.“tarantino films 1995..2010”Or you could look for tablets prices between £100 to £200 by using the following search term “tablet £100..£200″
- Local results
You can achieve more useful results by telling Google where to look for a particular search term. For instance, if you were looking for a garden centre, there’s no point simply typing “garden centre” unless you’re interested in all things garden centres and the products they sell. But if you add your postcode or town name on the end of the search, Google will highlight the nearest places, give you phone numbers, show you a map and display some reviews.
- Image searching
Googles search capability doesn’t just stop at webpages, it can also search for images (http://images.google.com) If you try searching for “cliff” you will be presented with thousands of pictures of Cliff edges.If you click “search tools” > Type > Face, the results will change to people with the name “Cliff” you can probably guess who that will be!
The same menu can restrict results to clip art, photos or line drawings. The adjacent ‘Color’ option can tell Google to focus solely on results of a particular colour/hue. For instance when selecting Blue, all results will have a mainly blue colour.
- Searching within periods of time
With the explosion of information flooding onto the web, Google now factors time into its searches to make it easier to find the most up to date content. To search between a specific period, click ‘Search tools’ and click the ‘Any time’ option, then chose time period.
Typing a year into the search box rarely works and this is a much more productive way of producing focused results
We hope you find this information useful, check the next newsletter for part 2 of our “search like a pro” article and in the meantime have fun!