This is Part 1 of our short series on Google Power Searching
Google Power Searching Secrets
By Kevin Tambling
Search Engine Optimization Specialist and Internet Marketing Web Designer at Accelerated Global
Can you save time when searching on Google? You bet!
Everyone uses Google from time to time. Not everyone knows the hidden techniques you can use to speed up your searching on Google, those little tricks that can help you to find exactly the things you are looking for, the very first time, or at the most within a couple of tries. Let’s start with the basics of Google searching with operators.
What are Google search operators, and how do they speed things up for me?
When you type your search term into the box on Google, you can add power to your search by using what are called “operators”. For instance, if your search was for virus, you may want to narrow that down a little to exclude or include terms related to the word virus. Let’s say your teenager asked you for help on his school paper about viruses, the kinds that cause illness. You would smile knowingly, and tell him to save time by excluding the term computer with the use of a minus sign just before computer. After all, he doesn’t want to waste his valuable time sorting though thousands of search listings about computer viruses. So he would type virus –computer for his search. You’d remind him to include a space before the minus sign, but not after. When he hits Enter, all the search results that included the word computer are magically removed. Once again he’s reminded of the wisdom of his elders.
Google has provided many search operators to improve the quality and speed of your search. You only have to remember to use them. At the end of this article is a handy list of Basic Google Search Operators that you can scan and keep near your computer. It’s a good way to save some time and frustration at the workplace as well, and you can impress your co-workers with your incredible internet savvy.
“How does Google Search use the plus sign?” you may be wondering. The plus sign is handy because Google usually strips out any tiny words, like and, of or the, when performing your search. Google would therefore automatically remove the last part of Superman II, leaving you with a plain search for Superman, with everything that might bring. In this case, you can use the plus sign, which means the term MUST be found in the search. The plus sign can also be used to eliminate any plurals, tenses or synonyms. So, when searching for Superman II, if you only wanted to see listings about the sequel, you’d type in Superman +II, which forces Google to include the tiny part in the search. The results will include only references to the movie sequel in a very efficient manner. Now you’ve got time for that extra cappuccino at lunch.
“So that’s how to use plus and minus, what else?” is the next question that may come to mind. You may already know this one—using quotation marks to search for an entire phrase, exactly as typed. Take the phrase, time is money. Type it in without the quotation marks, and you’ll get a whole page of stuff about money and time. But place the quotation marks around it, and you’ll quickly see which famous person is best known for that exact phrase. If you needed to know this quickly, you would have saved some time—and perhaps money!—in the process. I’m not revealing the famous person’s name, because it’s a good one to try by yourself, with and without the quotation marks.
Besides plus, minus, and quotation marks, what other search operators does Google provide?
One of the most commonly used search operators is OR. When used as an operator, OR is typed in all uppercase letters. This is one time that capitalization matters in Google, since in simple searches capitalization has no effect. However, when using OR in all uppercase, a special search process is specified. In this way you can retrieve results that are a combination of many searches. For instance, let’s say you wanted to find every possible search result for foreclosures in Detroit or Lansing. An appropriate search for this would look like foreclosure Detroit OR Lansing. This is exactly the same as performing two searches at the same time, for foreclosure Detroit and foreclosure Lansing. You can stretch this operator out into long combinations, like foreclosure Detroit OR Lansing OR Flint OR Michigan.
You can get fancy, if you’re an executive with very little time to spare. The search operators can be combined. How about a search for foreclosures in Detroit or Lansing, but NOT commercial properties? It would looks like this: foreclosure Detroit OR Lansing -commercial. Do you see how these work together? A little bit of practice can go a long way toward making it a natural process in your Google searches. You can try a few right now, and get in some practice time for when you really need it.
Enjoy your new, more powerful Google.
Basic Google Search Operators
- foreclosure florida
searching for the words foreclosure and Florida
- Miami OR Florida
searching for either the word Miami or the word Florida
- “Time is money“
search for the exact phrase time is money
- virus –computer
search for the word virus but exclude pages with the word computer
More Google Operators
Only the word loan, and not the plural or any tenses or
- ~loan home
home related info for both the word loan and its synonyms:
finance, credit, etc.
- orange * apple
the words orange and apple separated by
one or more words
definitions of the word appraisal from several online dictionaries
Next: Google Power Searching Secrets part II