Tuesday Tip: Find What You Are Looking for in Google Searches

Google, or any search engine for that matter, will often give you too much information on a subject or return information that is not specific to what you really want. The good news is that search engines realize this and give you tools with which to narrow your search. There are too many to list, but here are a few of the tools you can use to narrow your searches.

The most helpful way is to use quotation marks in a search. By surrounding a phrase in quotation marks, the search engine will only look for results that contain the phrase exactly as it is written instead of any combination of the words. For example, if I searched “Puppy Dog Sweaters” it would only pull results that contain the entire phase rather than everything related to “puppy,” “dog” and/or “sweaters.”

Another useful tool is the hyphen which is used to tell the search engine what you do not want. First, type the subject you would like to search then use a hyphen to note what you would like excluded from your search.  For example, if you search for Mustang – cars you will get websites, photos and articles about mustang horses without any clutter from the mustang car.

The last tool I am going to highlight is also the most interesting: the asterisk. By inserting an asterisk in your search, you give the engine the ability to fill in the blank with whatever it can find that will make sense. For example, if you forgot a key word in the search phrase, you can place an asterisk where the missing word goes and the engine will search for phrases that make sense with a word in place of the asterisk.

With these three tools my searches on Google and other search engines are faster and return more accurate and pertinent data. Hopefully they will help you as well.

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