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Trying to find information using Search Engines has always fascinated me, especially when I think back and remember how I used to have to do research for my homework when I was still in school; by going to our small local library and looking through books.
Of course, the library didn’t have many books, let alone multiple copies of the same book so it often took weeks to get all the information I needed. Plus, it was hard to get a comprehensive overview of a topic without looking through multiple books – there were no blogs to rely on for expert commentary, analysis and summaries.
Today, all kinds of different information, from all over the world, in countless different formats, is now available right at my fingertips, pretty much wherever I go. I honestly don’t know how we got by before!
Over the years the methods I use to find information by search have become more advanced and I have just completed (and passed) the Google Power Searcher course. I took the course because I wanted to test my current knowledge, learn some new tricks and I was curious to see if Google might give away any further snippets about their current methods for ranking search results.
Fortunately, the course surpassed my expectations and I was really pleased with the information shared.
Now it’s my turn to give something back. After all, the web wouldn’t work if we each didn’t take the me to pass on our knowledge.
Here are my top five tips to use Google to find the information you are looking for, efficiently and smartly.
For example, if you want to find information from only Governmental sources you could add ‘site:gov’ to your keyword search (it doesn’t matter if it is before or after your keyword(s)) and you will only get results back from .gov domains.
Alternatively, if you wanted to search on just a particular site, you could add ‘site:www.example.com’ to your search (along with your keywords or search phrase’) and the results you get back will be from the site you specified.
Much like the ‘site:’ operator, the ‘filetype:’ operator restricts your search. For example, if you wanted to look for PDFs, you would add ‘filetype:pdf’ to your search.
Did you know that you can use Google search as a calculator and converter, from simple calculations, to really complex ones?
Type in ’14 + 56′ and Google will show you that the answer is 70. Search for ’1 mile in kilometres’ and you will get the answer of 1.609344.
The key to doing successful conversions is to type your search following this rule ‘number of units in unit’ e.g ’3 metres in yards’.
If you have ever had that experience of wanting to find a song by typing in a lyric into the Google search box but the results come back for just one of the words in the phrase you searched for, you can force Google to just return searches containing the whole phrase. To do this you put the phrase in quotes, e.g. “Keep your drink just give me the money”
Once you have found the page that will hopefully contain the information you were looking for, you now need to try and find your answer or fact on the page. This will be quite simple is the page is short but increasingly difficult the longer the page gets.
To save time, hit Ctrl + f on your PC (Cmd + f on a Mac) while on the web page and a search bar will appear. Then, type in the keyword or phrase that you are looking for. You can now click ‘next’ and ‘previous’ to cycle through the different instances of your keyword or phrase through the page. Alternatively, you can hit ‘highlight’ and your keyword or phrase (if you use quote marks) will show in a block of colour.
Try these tips out and see how much quicker you can find the information you are looking for.