So you’re interested in a topic and you’re stuck.
Maybe it’s for school, work or even just your personal research.
So how you going to fill the gap in your knowledge?
Are you going to the library? Asking friends?
Most likely you’re opening your computer and going to Google.
Now Google is an awesome search engine; in fact it’s the number one search engine in the world.
However, one problem with Google is that it gives out so much information. Thus it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for in a giant sea of content.
So in this post I’m going to explain three simple tricks that you can use to search better on Google.
Note: Don’t forget to grab my checklist of Google Search Tips and Tricks for Bloggers at the end of this post.
1) Use Quotes
Let’s say you care about something that you want to learn more about.
Maybe it’s a book or film that you just watched. Maybe it’s a subject that you’re trying to learn more about in school.
Maybe it’s a word that you have no idea what it means.
So you just type it into Google and it will pull up the exact definition, right?
Well, unfortunately, that’s not how Google works.
You see, when you type a word or phrase into Google it treats that phrase as a keyword and branches out to find related topics.
This might be great to learn more about a general idea but not if you’re trying to find an exact definition.
Utilize quotes around your search query so that Google will find the exact phrase you’re looking for.
For example, if I wanted to learn more about a book (for example Silence by Shusaku Endo) I would not simply type the phrase “silence” into Google. Instead, I would write the phrase silence inside quotation marks.
2) Search for information on only one site
Let’s say read a great article on CNN, Lifehack, or Huffington Post. Then, because maybe you’re doing other work, you decide to close out your browser. Or suppose your browser crashes.
After all this hustle and bustle, you realize you’ve completely forgotten to bookmark that article.
Now you do remember that it’s on particular site but you’re not sure exactly what it’s called.
And there’s a problem…
One of the most important things that every blog or website should have is a search functionality to find information.
However, not every website will have this.
So you’re kind of stuck – you know what the article is, and you think you know what it’s called, but you’re not entirely sure.
So you go to Google and try to search the information.
Problem is, just like keywords, Google’s going to search the whole Internet when you really only want one website.
Annoying, isn’t it?
in this case you would use the site operator so that Google only searches one particular domain.
Here’s how to do it: grab the website URL (it should be the first URL you grab, not one for a particular blog post). Ideally it would be the homepage.
Pop that website URL into Google but do not hit search. Add the phrase “site:” to the beginning. Then place your cursor before the entire query and type the name of the article or a keyword related to the article.
Google will search for that particular article but only on the site you intend to search.
Pretty nifty, right?
3) Exclude queries from things you’re trying to search for
All these examples that I’ve given show you trying to search for something.
However, there are cases where you actually want to exclude certain results from coming up.
Here’s an example: say you’re interested in learning how to code using Python.
Now Python is used for a lot of different things. Some use it with Twitter Bootstrap to build websites. Others use it for data analysis. Some use it for building applications.
Let’s say you’re like me and you’re trying to build a new WordPress theme using Twitter Bootstrap. Obviously data analysis and building web applications isn’t what you looking for.
So how do you excluded these from your search queries so that you only get the information that you need?
The secret is to add a dash for the keywords that you don’t want included.
So if I wanted to learn how to use Python to build websites but nothing involving data analysis, this is how I would write my search into Google.
Bringing it all together
There are lots of fun and advanced search queries you can use to make sure you get the right information. These three are a good start.
If you really nervous about typing all these different search quarries, don’t forget that Google has an advanced search option. Unlike search queries, this option is completely drag and drop.
And before you leave, don’t forget to grab my tips and tricks for how to use Google search for your blog:
How do you use Google Search? Let me know in the comments below!