You thought you could find anything almost instantaneously with the internet? Think again! Not that finding information is outrageously difficult, but learning to search for information quickly and effectively takes skill. As we increasingly rely on search engines like Google to find information and tackle projects, learning the tricks of the trade can be invaluable. Here are the top five Google Search tips that can help you dramatically improve your searching and save valuable time:
1. Learn Search Modifiers
Google’s search algorithm is excellent at returning the information you’re looking for, even if you are not so sure yourself. But what if you already know exactly what you want to find? These helpful modifiers can hone in on information so you don’t drown in a sea of unrelated results:
- Exclude terms with a minus (-) symbol: So you want to learn about safety skills for your business but not anything about hazardous materials? You can use the minus symbol to exclude all the terms you don’t want, for example, safety skills -hazardous -materials.
- Use “OR” to combine searches: Use this modifier to get two separate but related bits of information, but make sure you capitalize OR! For example, Google will return different results for safety and compliance or hazard training than it does for safety and compliance OR hazard training.
- Use quotations to search for an exact order: Placing a phrase in quotes will produce different results than the same phrase outside of quotes. If you want to find a phrase in an exact order, try quotes. For example: “language training for beginners” will bring back a different set of results than language training for beginners without quotes.
2. Learn Search Qualifiers
- Search inside a website: If you want the results from a single website, use site: followed directly by the site’s URL. For example, Business Skills site:opensesame.com will find hits about business skills only from opensesame.com.
- Search titles only: Use the search intitle: to look for words in the webpage title. For example, healthcare intitle:training will return sites about health care that have the word “training” in the title. The search allintitle: will return links with multiple words in the title.
- Search URL’s only: You can search only in the URL using inurl: or allinurl: This is especially helpful when you want to find URL’s about a particular topic. And guess what? You can use all of these search terms in conjunction with each other and the modifiers listed above! 3.
3. Do Math in Your Search Box
- Who knew you could use your search box as a calculator? Whether you want to figure out a tip or help your kids with their algebra homework, Google Search knows what to do. You can do basic calculations in the search bar, but you can also ask Google to solve math questions in regular language. If you’re feeling really clever, you can even create 3D virtual objects by plugging “x’s” and “y’s” in as free variables into equations…but that might be a little ambitious for a quick Google search.
4. Google Search: The Master Converter!
- You can convert just about anything on Google, whether it’s a temperature, distance, currency, etc., look no further than your search bar. Traveling to Timbuktu? Don’t worry, you can figure out the exchange rate of dollars to West African CFA Francs in a matter of seconds!
5. Track Packages with Google
- Wondering when your package will arrive? Just copy your UPS or FedEx tracking number into the search bar and voila, Google will automatically link you to the tracking page.
No matter what you need to search or solve, these five simple tips can help you consolidate information and find answers in a hurry!