Oh, Google. What would we do without you?
If you’re like me, this funny-sounding search engine is part of your everyday life. From work to personal use, Google is a lifesaver when it comes to finding information.
But, even a seasoned researcher can get more from their searches with a few concepts, commands and ideas. Let’s explore the world of power Googling and how it can improve your research results.
Mastering Google Search Commands
When it comes to getting the most out of your searches, some easy-to-use commands can help you maximize your Googling power. Whether you're putting together an SEO topic cluster or crafting a storytelling marketing blog, mastering these commands can help you find information faster.
Before we start, here are a few general ideas:
- Word order matters—the position of your keywords in a query matters. Important and critical terms should go first.
- Less means more—the more precise you can craft your searches, the better results. Adding too many words can often result in less than relevant content.
Okay, now that we have those guidelines in mind, let’s start tackling how you can use search commands to your advantage.
If you can, try to focus on a single topic or keyword. Remember, the more precise your keywords, the better the results.
For example, let’s say you want to find information on building tiny homes in the North Carolina area. While that query might get you good results, try honing in on the right keywords:
- Tiny Homes
- North Carolina
Break out your thesaurus; it’s time to think up some synonyms.
Using synonyms can help you find relevant information that your previous query may have missed.
Using our above example, you could come up with the following:
- Tiny Houses
- The Carolinas
Certain words will help Google understand your needs. For example, if you’re looking for hard data, make sure you put the word “data” or “statistics” in your query.
Here are a few more trigger commands that may be of use:
By adding these to your search, you can find the exact information you need.
Phrases and Connectors
Now that you have a handle on keywords, how can you string them together to find information?
First, you might try using phrases.
When you want to search for an exact term, place it in quotation marks (“xxxx”). This will ensure Google searches them in the exact order.
Why is this important? Well, let’s look at a practical example.
Let’s say you’re searching for a red wagon. Without quotation marks, you’ll end up with a bunch of useless results:
- All results for red
- All results for wagon
- All results for the combination of the two
Next, let’s touch on connectors. The words AND and OR are powerful in Google.
AND is the default connector for searches. So, if you’re searching for “red wagon,” it will automatically add an “AND” in between the two keywords. If you want to add this yourself, make sure you capitalize.
Next is OR. OR is a bit different in that Google requires at least one of the keywords to appear in a returned result.
Using this connector is perfect for separating synonyms or related concepts. Again, always type this connector phrase in all caps.
Lastly, let’s touch on using Boolean connectors to express a logic string using these commands. This is how you really make the most out of your searches.
Back to our red wagon example. Let’s say you’re looking to make a purchase. Instead of just typing “red wagon for sale,” try stringing together connector phrases to expand your options:
- (Red or Yellow) “for sale” (Wagon or Buggy)
This query will get you a ton of results that match your exact search while offering other relevant information.
Finding Credible Sources
Let’s talk credibility.
While you may have cracked the code to get the most out of your search results, you always have to ask, “where is this information coming from?”
Even if the information looks great, if you’re getting your data on the right way to safely set up a 401K from a site called “yourdoggydaycare.shop,” you may want to keep searching.
Here are a few commands to help you find the best sources:
- site: — use this command to filter out sites. For instance, if you say site: .edu, only educational websites will show up in your results.
- inurl: — want to make sure a keyword is included in the URL? Use this command.
Let’s put these together in a practical example. Let’s say you want to find Forbes articles about health policy changes during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020.
Your search may look like this:
- Health policy (Coronavirus OR “Covid-19”) (changes OR differences) inurl:forbes
This will give you much better results than just “covid health policy changes.”
Other Useful Power Googling Tips
Looking for more commands to make the most out of Google’s expansive search platform? Here are a few other ways you can squeeze more value from your results:
- Find related sites by using related:
- Get wildcard search results by including an asterisk (*) for any given term
- Exclude results by placing a minus sign (-) before the term
- Search data ranges by using this formula YEARXXXX…YEARXXXX
- To find site results with exact matches for your terms, use allintext: term
- Find pages that link to a site with link:sitename
Of course, these are just a few more ways you can power search. The reality is Google is a behemoth when it comes to adaptability and flexibility. Mastering the way you search is more than a few simple tips.
In fact, you can find all sorts of courses online, like this one from Google itself, on this topic.
Maximize Your Research Power
Google is an amazing tool that has become the world’s go-to search engine.
It’s hard to imagine a world without it. Even so, most people barely scratch the surface when it comes to the capabilities of this platform.
With some simple power Googling tips, you can make better search queries and get to information faster. If you’re still struggling to master your writing research, don’t hesitate to get some help from the pros.
Here at Hire a Writer, we’re experts in mastering Google, among a suite of other research tools. We can help you find the exact information you’re looking for and craft killer copy to go along with it.
Looking to get started? Get in touch today.