Since Google was released in the early days of modern internet, it has grown into one of the most widely used tools worldwide. Whether you’re searching for recipes, news articles, product reviews, or blogging tips, your research is likely to begin at the Google search bar. Nearly everyone with access to the internet uses Google on a daily basis, but a surprisingly small group number of people truly understand the power of the platform. Many of us give our Google searches little to no thought, as our search terms often deliver satisfactory results that answer our questions. However, there is far more to Google than meets the eye, and there are ways we can all improve our Google searching skills.
Google uses a number of algorithms to determine which content is relevant to your search terms. These algorithms are extremely accurate, but in many cases there are tweaks we can make to further improve our search results.
If you’re searching for articles related to one topic or another, keep in mind that certain symbols and connecting words can be used to reach more specific results than usual. Many of these are used to narrow search results, while others are designed to deliver a broader range of results.
Let’s start with some of the rules that will narrow your results, giving you more accurate content to choose from:
- Including ‘-’ will eliminate a specific word or term from your results (i.e. ‘Blog posts – Wordpress’ will show results about blog posts that don’t contain the term “WordPress.”).
- Using quotation marks around a phrase (i.e. “SEO Optimization”) will deliver results that contain a specific phrase, not two or more general words.
- Using ‘intext’ allows you to search for two explicit terms that appear in the same article (i.e. ‘concert dates intext:summer 2016’).
- The term ‘allintitle’ helps you find articles with specific words in the title, however the words may not be adjacent to each other (i.e. ‘allintitle: shopify magento’). This can also be used for URLs, using the term ‘allinurl:’
Use these tricks to narrow your Google search results. If you’re looking for very specific information, it can be very helpful to use these tools that Google has designed, as they make it very easy to find only content related to your search query.
In some cases, you may not need to narrow your search. If you’re doing research on several topics or several similar terms, you may want to consider using some of the search-broadening tools:
- The word ‘OR’ will help you search for two terms at the same time, delivering results related to either – but they may not contain both terms (i.e. ‘SEO optimization OR content writing tips’).
- The term ‘allintext:’ allows you to search for content that contains all of your search terms, whether or not they are beside each other in the resulting articles (i.e. ‘allintext: panko chicken recipes gluten free’).
Outside of these general tips, there are a number of other ways you can greatly improve your Google searches. For example, there may be times you find a website with excellent content, and you’d like to find similar websites. This can easily be done by using the term ‘related:’ in your Google searches (i.e. ‘related:ecommercefastlane.com’).
In recent years, Google has developed advanced search tools and widgets that bring users the best content without the need to manually pick through sources to find it. Some search terms you may want to try include:
- ‘Define:’ to find definitions of words (i.e. ‘define:ecommerce’)
- ‘Location:’ to find information relevant to a specific place (i.e. ‘marathon location:boston’)
- ‘Translate' to find translations of words or phrases (i.e. ‘translate zapados to English’)
- ‘Phonebook:’ to look up mysterious phone numbers (i.e. ‘phonebook:888-555-4564’)
Google has even invented in-browser widgets that serve as basic, commonly used tools. Searching the term ‘tip calculator’ will bring up a fully functioning tip calculator, and searching ‘timer’ will bring up a timer! This also works with terms like ‘stopwatch,’ ‘weather,’ ‘sunrise,’ ‘sunset,’ and can even be used to show your flight status! Simply search your flight number, and Google will bring the flight status directly to your fingertips. Not only that, but you can easily access the status of your stocks by simply searching for the specific stock you’re interested in. Each of these results will be shown at the very top of the results page, in a very attractive widget.
Most of these tools are highly useful for business and research, but Google was sure to include some fun options as well. Searching for sports scores used to be a bit of a process, but simply searching the name of your favorite team on game day will bring up the current status and score of the game. You can even compare nutrition facts of different kinds of food by searching for two different kinds of food, separated with the word ‘vs.’ (i.e. ‘chicken vs. steak’).
Have you used any of these Google search tips? Have they improved your search results? Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments below!