Ever sit down in front of your computer to find something on Google and then try and figure out how to word what you want?
I do this from time to time and it frustrates me, so I was happy to find this short tutorial on three Google search tips that will help in your search efforts to find exactly what you seek.
These tips are from the website ‘Make Use Of’ and I’ve included a couple from the article below (geek alert – if you go to the original article you might encounter more than you want to know. I’ve summarized here to keep things simple):
The tips are useful if:
- You are searching for something but have no idea which words to use to search;
- Your topic is broad and you’re unsure which one of related words and synonyms best describes your question;
- You’ve found a web page that’s good, can’t define it properly but need more of the same kind of results.
In any of these instances, you can use a search operator that will allow you to tell Google to include search results based on what you seek. The term search operator is a symbol that tells a search engine how to perform a search (think math operators like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ which tell you how to use the numbers in a math problem)
Here are 3 search operators that can help you find what you seek when you’re not quite sure how to search for the thing you’re looking for:
1. * – Wildcard Search Operator – *
When you use * in a Google search, Google substitutes it for one or more words that would normally occur in the phrase. For example, if you search [“reliable * provider”], your search results will include: “reliable television provider”, “reliable web hosting provider”, “reliable cable provider”, etc.
- Use it when you remember the phrase but can’t remember the word
- When you want to see what other versions or results there are for something you’re searching for.
2. ~ Synonym Search Operator ~
The Google ~ operator allows you to broaden the scope of your search to related terms and synonyms.
Use this when:
- Your search term is very broad and you want to see other related results
- You want to research related terms excluding the one you use (e.g. [~search -search] would give you results with synonyms for the word search ‘~search ‘ but the results don’t include the word search ‘-search‘).
3. Related: URL Search Operator – Related: ‘URL’
The Related: search operator allows you to find more pages that are similar to the web address you use in the search. Using this search operator will give you many results that are sites linking to the main URL (I did this for VetLocator.com and found over 3,000 sites linking to us) along with some similar sites with the same subject content.
You can use this when you find a page that has information you are interested in but it’s difficult for you to summarize that page in a few key words. Just copy the url, go to Google and type in related: (paste in the copied url here) and search to see sites that are similar.
To see the original article from Make Use Of, click HERE.
To see a cheat sheet of a list of Google operators, visit the GoogleGuide Quick Reference Cheat Sheet.
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