- Omit superfluous words if not looking for an exact quote. If I’m looking for sugar-free brownies, I’m going to say “sugar free brownies” in my search, not, “I have a friend with diabetes coming for dinner and I want to find sugar free brownies.” The first will bring you recipes for sugar-free brownies as the top results. The other will probably give you any combination of information related to diabetes, dinner, friends, brownies, sugar, etc., and not necessarily include recipes specific to brownies that are sugar free.
- Use synonyms and similar ideas if you don’t get helpful results.
- Need to see images? Type in your search terms, hit enter and then click “images” in the top . Now you’ll see images related to your search.
- Correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation are not required when doing a search unless you put it in quotations to indicate you are looking for an exact match.
Using Symbols to Help You Search
- Use quotation marks around a phrase or specific set of words if you are looking for something exact. If I had the famous saying “Live long and prosper” in the back of my mind and I had forgotten what that came from, I would do a search for that exact phrase, using quotations around it, so that Google would search for those words in that exact order. If I said, “live, long, prosper.” I might get the Vulcan quote regardless, but I’d get the “right” results at the top of my search if I put in the more exact information.
- Don’t remember the exact quote? Use an asterisk to indicate a “wildcard.” For example, “an * a day keeps the doctor away.”
- Want to limit your search to a specific site? Type the name of the site + tab and you’ll be searching that site. For example, “YouTube” + Tab + “charlie bit my finger” should yield results from YouTube of the video of those “famous” kiddos. Same thing if you type “YouTube: charlie bit my finger.”
- Use the word “define” in front of a word to find the definition. Example: “define: sentinel.”
- Need to know how many calories are in a pound of butter? How many feet are in a mile? How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? Just ask.
- Use ~ to indicate you want similar results. If I said “amethyst ~bracelet,” I might get results for amethyst bracelets, necklaces, rings, etc.
Be mindful of the web sites that are recommended when you do a search. Need to know credible information about financial information? Go to sources that are respected in the industry. Dave Ramsey vs. Mr. Get-Rich-Quick-Hopeful Blogger guy and definitely avoid the “sensational” looking sites that say things such as “You can be a millionaire in one year”! The sites that aren't quality may be taking advantage of you by giving you malware while you’re visiting.
You can find almost anyone saying almost anything online. If you believe that Bigfoot lives in Wisconsin, you might be able to find a random blogger who agrees with you. Without diminishing the truth that the minority are sometimes right, you want to be careful regarding what and who to believe. Source you information from credible sources, not “tabloid-like” websites or random blogs. For example, if you need to find a historical quote, see if you can locate it on the National Archive site online, not a blog that Mr. Anybody likes to write for a casual hobby. Although some bloggers are truly dedicated to sourcing their information well, just because someone said it, has a photo, and published it online does not make it true.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list on how to best use Google. Want more tips? Just do a search. =)