Google has been the dominant search engine for a long time, is our gateway to the Web. For many, it is not just a search engine but the Web itself.
You have entered words and names in the Google search portal and got useful results back, but does it happen all the time? as it could be harder finding answers to our research queries and projects. In this article, you will learn all the methods and techniques to get answers on Google faster.
Before we start, Google has basic rules you must know to get more out of your searches: they are
- Google ignores many common words like ‘for, the, and, but, be, have’ also known as stop words. It ignores also punctuation.
- Google results can come from anywhere in a document, not just in its text. Example: Search for farm crowdy appears near the top of the search results list because of its Web address (www.farmcrowdy.com).
- Google pays attention to word order. The first word is the most important in a search, reading left to right.
- Google returns pages ordered by Page Rank.
- it is case-insensitive and Simple Google searches are limited to ten keywords.
- it searches for words not meaning: If you want to search for ‘the first man on the moon’, it is better to save yourself the time and search ‘first man moon’.
- A ‘thing’ and ‘things’ are not the same. Plural and singular words are different to Google search engine.
INTRODUCING THE SIMPLE OPERATORS
Simple operators are Boolean-based, they are not included in the subject of a search, but rather change how Google works when it performs a search. One thing to know is that these Boolean operators are case sensitive. You cannot type ‘OR’ operator as ‘or’.
The “OR” operator
Alternatively, can be the ‘ | ‘ sign. One of the best uses of the OR operator is when you’re not sure of the spelling of a term (looking for Hippopotamus?), or when the term has several variations (email OR e-mail). Or perhaps you want to include both singular and plural forms of a word (ant OR ants).
The OR operator works when an item is known by more than one term: for example, searching for
‘wireless device OR computer OR network’
will return pages that contain wireless and any two or three of the other terms. Remember that Google values the first word in a search.
The exclusion operator
This operator is used to exclude a word from a search. It is represented by a (-) sign. It helps to clarify the context of the search terms. Many words are found across diverse fields. For example, a virus can infect a person or a computer. A search for
Should display other virus-related result in exclusion of human viruses. If you want to find computer viruses exempting human viruses, you can try something like this
‘virus computer Stuxnet -person’
Please keep in mind that these operators should not have space between them, just like the one above.
The wildcard operator (*)
The wildcard operator is used to match any word. Always useful if you know part of a phrase. For example, searching for
“I left my * in Port Harcourt”
outputs different matches containing the phrase “I left my heart in Port Harcourt” and a few with other body parts, such as “I left my hands in Port Harcourt”. You can also use multiple stars to represent multiple words.
The Define operator ( define: )
A define: operator is quickly used find the web meaning of a word. An example is
This brings various web pages defining souvenir. But you may ask why don’t I type define souvenir straightaway, the former is more broad and authoritative.
But you may not want to get your hands dirty using these operators discussed above, maybe it’s because you are not all that geeky or nerdy, no problem, there is just a second option for you, the Google Advanced search page. This Google Search page offers a different interface for accessing information on the Web. So instead of using the arcane syntax (- OR *) you can use a series of text boxes and drop-down menus.
Also, you can specify more operators which i did not discuss above like, ‘ the Filetype: operator, site: operator, language and region operator’.
Now you’ve learned how to be a Google search master, your next research projects should be more productive and faster in the most effective way.
If you do have better techniques that you know works better than these ones, don’t forget to share them below. Happy searching.
edewor is a Web developer and a Tech/business writer. He loves to talk about how Nigerians can be more productive and competitive, always learning and relearning