For most of us finding information on the Internet is synonymous with going to Google.com, typing in a word or phrase and clicking search. In fact Google does account for a major share of the search engine market and with good reason too. Check this out if you are still in doubt.
Thus despite new players coming up, Google still remains the leader in information search on the web. That is exactly why it makes sense to understand and develop efficient googling techniques. Mentioned below are few tips which, when practiced while searching the web using Google, will save time and improve search results.
- Asterisks: Clearly one of the most commonly used symbols in search queries; even a novice would need no explanation on its use. Ideally translated to mean “anything”, wild card queries can bring forth an assortment of results.
- Quotation marks: This is another commonly used sign in search. Enclosing a combination of words in quotes results in Google displaying only those sites/pages with the words in the exact order. Try searching the same group words with and without quotes to see the difference.
- Minus sign: By using “-“ sign we can avoid unrelated search results. For example: Typing Barack Hussein -Obama lists many Barack Husseins other than Barack Hussein Obama. Now do the search with Barack Hussein (hyphen) Obama and you will see my point.
- Plus sign: This gives a result which is exactly opposite to the minus operator. To include a specific word in your search result, add it with “+” in the query. Let’s say you want to know more about the level of scientific knowledge in medieval India. Your query string would be scientific knowledge + medieval India. However, with numbers this will work like the normal arithmetic plus operator.
- Intitle and intext search: Using “intitle:” before a search keyword returns only those web pages which have that keyword in its title tag. Similarly, “intext:” returns pages with the keyword in the content of the web page. To see the difference in results, try out both these functions – “intext:” “HTML Tags” and “intitle:” “HTML Tags”.
- Allinanchor: In this age of SEO, keywords are all important. Use ‘allinanchor:’ syntax to get google to search for the terms you want to find in anchor text. You are sure to get a more content-focused list.
- Filters to choose sources: You can restrict the sources of results by adding special syntax to your query after the search term. Some filters are site:edu, site:gov, inurl:blog, inurl:forum. Type the following into the google search box and check the results – “SEO” inurl:blog.
- Filetype filter: This filter tells google what kind of file to look for while searching. Type your search word followed by filetype:file extension(xls,pdf,doc).
Mix and match the above mentioned operators intelligently and you can further narrow down your search results. Try various options to refine searches and optimize time. If you know of something else worth mentioning, feel free to add to this list. As you know, the list goes on.