I use Google to search for a lot of different things many times every day. You probably do, too. But, unless you are a super-techy geek, you probably use Google in its simplest form. You type in a few words and keep trying new words and phrases until you locate what you’re looking for.
I’ve often suspected that there is a better (easier and more efficient) way. With a little unsophisticated searching, I discovered that there is…and these tips are a cinch to learn.
1. Use the tabs for specific searches
At the top of every search there are tabs (you’ll see Web, Image, News, and More). most people use the tabs already to help define the kind of search they need to do. If you’re not among them, start using them. They can cut search times dramatically.
2. Use quotes for specific phrases
Try using quotes to minimize the guesswork. When you put your search criteria in quotes, it tells Google to search for the whole phrase. For instance, if you search for change your life, the engine will search for content that contains those three words in any order. However, if you search “change your life,” it will search for that phrase exactly as you typed it.
3. Use OR…as in ‘this’ OR ‘that’
By default, when you conduct a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you’re looking for any one or more terms to match, then you can use the capitalized OR, which helps you to search for multiple words or phrases at once. (For example, chocolate OR white chocolate.)
4. Use the asterisk (*) wildcard
When you use an asterisk in a search on Google, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a terrific way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. Let’s look at the syntax: “Come * right now * me” (which looks like a weird language). However, Google will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word. More often than not, you’ll find they are lyrics to The Beatles song “Come Together,” and that’s what the search will tell you, according to Lifehack.
5. Keep it simple…just tell Google search what you want
You don’t need to be too specific. If you need a Thai restaurant nearby, use this to search (Thai restaurants nearby). Google search will grab your location and deliver a variety of results about Thai places that are near you.
6. Use a hyphen (-) to exclude words
This is useful when you are searching for a word with an ambiguous (or more than one) meaning. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other (for example: Mustang -cars). This tells Google to search for mustangs but to remove any results that have the word “car” in it. It can be wildly helpful when finding information about something without getting information about something else you don’t need or want.
7. Use descriptive words
Pretty much everything can be described in multiple ways. Take “life hack,” for example. The Lifehack website tells us that the terminology “hack” refers to a “computer programmer breaking security on a network or system.” However, when used in conjunction with the word “life”, it alters the meaning to tips and tricks people can use to improve their lives. If you have trouble finding what you’re searching for, remember that people may search or define what you need in a different way than you do.
8. Don’t sweat the little things
When you’re searching on Google you do not have to worry about spelling or capitalization. The search engine will look for your search even if you spell it incorrectly or do not capitalize it. (It’s a lot more forgiving than your junior high English teacher!)
9. Find quick answers
In many cases, Google will do the work for you. It will find weather for a specific city. If you put define in front to a word, it will give you the definition. It can do calculations when you enter a math equation. It can convert currency, like dollars into Euros. Give it a try.
Knowing a few Google search tips can certainly save you time and frustration. And when you want to make your own website more searchable, sometimes you can use a little help with your own SEO (search engine optimization), as well. That’s where Solamar can help. Our SEO experts know exactly how to get your website in front of the people most likely to buy from you. Give us a shout!