If you’ve ever searched for something on Google, you’ve probably experienced the frustration that occurs when Google seems determined to show you everything except what you are really looking for.
Even the most seasoned search engine users have experienced this; it’s the cost of having such an extensive resource at the tips of our fingers. Fortunately, Google has some built-in features that can help you make your searches more powerful and come up with exactly what you’re looking for.
Here are ten tips you can follow that will improve your Google-Fu.
- Eliminate Irrelevant Results
Have you ever been searching for something unique, only to get results that are run-of-the-mill? For instance, maybe you’re looking for roses in assorted colours but all the results are about red roses. You can eliminate irrelevant results from your Google searches with just one little character, the hyphen (-). For the roses search, you would type “roses -red“. This eliminates results with the word red in them.
- Find Websites with Specific Links
Perhaps you were recently on a website that had valuable information but you forgot the bookmark it. You can remember a few keywords, and you also remember that this page linked back to one of your favourite websites. You haven’t had any luck just searching with the keywords you remembered, so what can you do? Adding a bit of special notation can get you where you need to be. Simply type your keywords followed by link:www.example.com. Of course, you’ll want to replace example.com with the relevant website for your situation.
- Find Out What Time it is in Another City
Most people, regardless of the industry that they’re in, have contacts outside of their time zone. If you need to know what time it is in another local, simply type “time in” and then the name of the city.
- Act Like a Human
Just because Google isn’t a human doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “talk” to it like a human. Google is programmed to work well with semantics. Feel free to type your search terms exactly as they sound in your head. “Where can I get yellow roses,” works better than “Roses, yellow, location.”
- Order Matters
Related to acting like a human, this tip implores you to think about the order that you put your words. If you search “sky blue,” you’re going to get significantly different results than if you were to search “blue sky.”
- Be Your Own Detective
If you have an image and want to know where the picture was taken, Google can help. Simple click the Images tab, click the camera icon in the search bar and upload your image. Google will compare it to similar images, many of which may include the location photographed. (Note, that this does not save your image to Google.)
- Find Similar Results
If you want to include items that are similar to your search terms, Google has a way to do that, and it’s simple at that. If you put a tilde (~) in front of any search term, Google will include terms that are in some way related to that term. For example, “~kayaks” will give you results that include other watercraft, perhaps boats and canoes.
- Add Common Parameters
Google is constantly using the massive number of searches conducted on it to improve. This means that common words like “best,” “cheapest,” and “open now,” will work in your search. Eliminate any restaurant that isn’t open when you’re looking for dinner by typing “Italian restaurant near me open now”.
- Use Your Voice
Google has a great feature for people who have a hard time spelling, or for people who run into difficult to spell words. If you don’t know how to spell a word, use the microphone in the search bar to conduct a search using your voice.
- Save Time
Google doesn’t recognize punctuation or common articles like “the.” (Although using AND and OR in all caps can help narrow down your search results.) It also doesn’t recognize punctuation. Save time and avoid using punctuation and common articles.
Google search has come a long way since its inception and is now an incredibly powerful tool that has relevance, prominence, and proximity to personalize results.
Knowing these tips won’t just help you be a better searcher. It will help you to understand what your customers are searching for. Knowing this can help you position your business better.