Narrowing Down Your Search: How to Effectively Search the Web with Google

Google Search is a tool that I utilize almost every day. Most times, the results on the first page will provide me with the informational link I am looking for. However, there are times when I need to edit my search to achieve better results. Fortunately, I have learned some search tips that have helped me find exactly what I am looking for the first time I conduct a query.

  • Use double quotes around a search phrase to find that specific phrase (for example: “social media”). If double quotes are left out, search results will not only include sites with the phrase “social media,” but also sites with solely “social” or “media.”
  • Exclude words you do not want a search query to pull by inserting a dash after your search phrase (for example: social media – Twitter). I would type social media – Twitter in a search box if I did not want the results to pull anything related to Twitter.
  • Quickly look up the definition of a word by using the “define” command (for example: define: social media).
  • In order to find specific document types, such as, PowerPoint, put the search phrase in double quotes followed by filetype:ppt ( for example: “social media” filetype:ppt). This can also be done for other document types as well.
  • To search a specific website for a specific phrase use the site modifier (for example: “social media” site:www.sitename.com).
  • If you want to include a specific word in your search but also pull results with similar words use the tilde sign (for example: “social media” ~ business). This is useful in expanding a query if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for.

Since implementing these tips, I have cut my search time in half, finding information quickly and efficiently. For future reference, bookmark sites you visit frequently and you can continue to cut down on the time you may spend searching.

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