Everyone knows how to use Google, right? All you do is type in what you are looking for, then click ‘Enter”. Viola!
Yes, and no. While that will get you what you want sometimes, you will also likely have to try a few different searches to find what you are looking for. There are approximately 300 million domain names, and Google is searching through the almost all of the pages in each domain (excluding any nofollow, etc).
While the Google algorithm is an ingenious and evolving combination of processes and formulas that do an impressive job at interpreting what we’re looking for, it is imperfect. We have all experienced that one question we can’t seem to find the answer to, or that we didn’t find a relevant answer to until page 4.
Luckily, there are ways to get better at Googling. That’s right: it is a skill. Google is a tool, and just like any other tool, there are ways you can get better at using it.
Here are a few tips:
1. Include an Specific Phrase
If you are searching for something like “email marketing for financial firms”, you will get some information about email marketing in general, some generic information about financial companies or banks, then, hopefully, you will find what you are looking for. One way to get around this is to tell Google you only want results with an exact phrase in it. You do this by surrounding the specific phrase with quotes.
Ex. email marketing for “financial firms”
2. Search Specific Sites
Are you looking for something you know a specific site has the answer to? Maybe you saw a cool stat on a site but you can’t remember the number? Luckily for you, you can search within that specific site. Just type in the phrase you are looking for, then add “site:example.com” into the bar. You can also do this directly in the address bar by adding “?s=” (https://www.newnorth.com/?s=PPC)
Ex. email marketing site:newnorth.com
3. Search Using Images
Have you ever seen an image of something and wanted to know what it is? Maybe a building or a flag. You could type in a description of the building in Google, but you will probably not find it. You can, however, search using that image. Simply go to https://images.google.com/, search by image, then paste the url of the image into the search box.
4. Exclude Words
Sometimes when you search something, Google will misunderstand your intention. For example, if you are searching “bears” (for whatever reason) then you will see a lot of information about the Chicago Bears football team. You just wanted to see the fuzzy kind! Easy fix: add a minus sign after your search to exclude certain words.
Ex. Bears – Chicago
5. Search by Specific File Type
Did you come across a great powerpoint deck awhile back? Finding that can be difficult if you search by the topic as you will get results from websites, eBooks, blogs, etc. To find the deck easily, place “filetype:” in front of the specific file you are looking for.
Ex. barney stinson filetype:gif
Extra Tip, Just for Fun
Type in “do a barrel roll” in Google (without the quotes) and see what happens.
Hopefully, these tips started you towards getting the exact search results you hope for. Google is a fantastic tool, but the better your skills are, the more effectively you can utilize the tool.