Tips for Effective Google Searching: How to Search Like a Boss

Tips for Effective Google Searching: How to Search Like a Boss

May 01, 2018

Face it. We all do at least one Google search a day. Whether it’s to look up a product, a restaurant, a person, or directions. Even at work, we use Google from time to time to double check spelling of a word or to fact check ourselves. There’s no shame in it. Google is the helpful and convenient friend that we all have come to rely on. Though Google is a tried and true tool for the daily workflow, sometimes we don’t always find the answer we’re looking for right away. It takes a few tries and some rewording to finally get the answers we seek. This is mostly caused by what we give Google to work with when we type into the search bar. Most of the time, we just ask Google our question verbatim because well, it’s easy. But sometimes that method backfires when we can’t find our answer anywhere on the first page.


Instead of sticking with these oftentimes counterproductive methods, we can change and utilize better and more effective ways of searching in Google. Learn to Google like a boss by implementing some of these tips into your search bar next time.


Check it out: How Search Works (Video)




Keywords are…key! Choosing the right words to search with can make all the difference between seeing the answer you’re looking for and not. Keep the order of the words as precise and accurate as possible. The more keywords used in your search the better. Imagine describing something to a friend. The more descriptive you are, the better idea they’ll have of what you’re talking about. Google works this way too. The more keywords you use in your search, the easier it will be for Google to give you the best matched results.



Did you know that Google puts an “and” in between words you search? So, if you’ve entered two words into the search bar, Google will assume that you want results with both words. If you want to expand your search and look for pages that include one word or another, but not both, use “OR” in between words. If you want to search for pages that include information about dogs and cats, search “dogs cats”, But if you’re looking for information regarding only dogs or cats separately, use “dogs OR cats”.



I know I just told you that including more keywords would make a difference, but that doesn’t include smaller words like “the”, “and”, “where”, “how”, “what”, and “or”.  Google ignores these words because they basically just slow down your search. If you need to use a stop word in your search, you can override Google’s rule by adding a “+” in front of the stop word with a space before it.



Refine your search by excluding pages that include a specific word. This allows you to skip those pages that include misleading or irrelevant words that might otherwise be common to your search. Homonyms make things tricky because when words have multiple meanings and the same spelling, Google will give you results for all of the meanings. Like the word “court” for example, has more than one meaning. You could be asking about court cases or basketball courts. You can exclude words by using “-” before any word you don’t want included in the search. So, let’s say you want to search for court locations in your city, but you’re not interested in local basketball courts, you would simply search: court –basketball –gym, etc. You will get a much more specific and focused result.



Isn’t it frustrating when you know what you want to search for, but have no clue how to describe it in words? There may be tons of different ways people describe the thing you want to search for. When this happens, it’s best to search for not only one single keyword, but words that are similar to that keyword as well. To do this, use “~” before the word in question and Google will not only search for that word, but all synonymous words. This will give you a lot of options and expand your search results.

  You might like this: Easy Ways to Improve your Typing


So maybe the special key functions aren’t for you when trying to be specific with wording in your search or broaden your search for that matter. If this isn’t your thing, give the Google Advanced Search Page a try. Instead of typing in keyboard commands, you can go right to the Google Advanced Search and type in what you need with its fine-tuned search options. The options include finding results with exact meanings, finding results with one or more words, results per page, file type, search within specific website or domains, and don’t show pages that contain unwanted words., etc. You can also search for specific dates, usage rights, region, and SafeSearch.



Sometimes it’s difficult to exclude certain words when you’re trying to search a specific phrase. When you’re searching for the exact phrase you want, it’s helpful to enclose the phrase with quotation marks to let Google know that you want to search for those precise words in that order. For instance, if you want to search for Star Wars movie things, you’d most likely get decent results, but you might also get things related to stars and wars. To just get pages about the movie specifically, search for “Star Wars”.



Sometimes when your search generates more information than you know what to do with, you may not have the time to scroll through and read every result presented to you to find what you’re looking for. If this happens, scroll down to the bottom on the results page and click on “Search Within Results” link. A new search box will pop up and allow you to enter another search. This one should be more focused than the last one. Google will then search within the original results to generate a more specific list of results.


Check it out: Search Like a Pro (Infographic)