Google is now so all-pervasive in our everyday lives that’s it’s even a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary! But whilst we’re all familiar with typing in a word or phrase and scrolling through the results, did you realise that there are other ways that you can search that will produce much more targeted results? Let’s find out what you need to do.
1. Emphasise key words and block others
Using a plus or a minus sign in front of key words you want to either emphasise or block will produce far more accurate results. Say, for example, you are attending the annual dental surgeons’ conference, and you want to look up the papers from last year’s one. Googling ‘dental surgeons’ conference +2017 -2106’ will take you directly to the relevant papers much more quickly than a standard search.
2. Add quotation marks around key phrases
Often when we search for something like a TV show or book title, Google will present us with results that include all of those words. However, if you put the key phrase in quotation marks, then Google knows to search for results with words in that specific order. You should find that the book you are looking for is the top result, rather than buried somewhere on page two or three as it might have been with a traditional search.
3. Do two searches at once
Yes, it is possible to do two searches at once! And this is useful if there are two ways of asking for the same thing. Say you are interested in finding out about ‘online marketing tools’. Well, you could type that into the search bar, but you may also want to add ‘OR digital marketing tools’. In this way both sets of results will be presented at the same time giving you a greater choice of options.
4. Search for personal results
If you’re browsing on the web and want to double check your hotel reservation for your upcoming holiday, then so long as you are logged into your Google account, search for ‘my hotel reservation’ and Google will find the relevant email for you without the need for you to open Gmail.
5. Search for a phrase even without all the words
Perhaps you heard a snippet of a song on the radio, or maybe it’s a book recommendation from a friend but you can’t quite remember the full title. Well, it is still possible to search on Google even if you’re not sure of some of the words. All you need to do is replace the missing ones with an asterisk. And so googling ‘Castle on the *’will take you to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on the Hill’.
So next time you’re looking for something on Google, try using these handy hints to get more accurate results, faster.