Must-Have Google Search Skills

By Graeme Newell 

Most everyone uses Google search these days, but most people never get beyond the basic technique of putting words in the text box and pressing the search button. While this search method will usually find the result you need, it may require a time-wasting journey through page after page of results to actually track down the specific information you had in mind.

The goal with a Google search is to find the link you want on the very first page of results. If it isn’t there, then you need to narrow your search parameters. Don’t go through the time consuming task of searching page after page of search results. Instead, laser your search criteria and let Google do the hard work for you.

So how do you do that? Below are some simple tips that will help you find specific information more efficiently.

1) Quotes
When searching for terms that are conveyed with multiple words, put them in quotations. If you search for information on the movie Princess Diaries, you will get results for every princess who ever traipsed through a child’s storybook, and every personal diary that was ever posted on the web. Include quotes around “Princess Diaries” and it will exclude entries that do not have those two words appearing right next to each other.

This is especially helpful when searching for quotes from other people. Do you have a few words from a quote in your head but you aren’t sure of the context or who said it? Put “four score and seven years ago” in quotes and the Gettysburg address appears right at the top of the search list. Entries that include a football score, the Four Seasons hotel and The Wonder Years will be excluded.

2) Negative keywords
Put a minus symbol in front of a word to exclude it from the search results.
Let’s say you are searching for information on “Barney Fife” from the Andy Griffith show. Google will go out and find every occurrence of both the word “Barney” and “Fife.” This means you’ll get results about that famous purple dinosaur and the musical instrument used in marching bands. To exclude these results your search should include:
Barney Fife -dinosaur -music

This will exclude entries that have these two words on the page. It is important that the negative sign be right next to the word. Make sure there are no spaces. Use as many negative keywords as you like. This is especially helpful when searching for people’s names on Google. For example, there is a real estate professor at the University of Sydney with my identical name. When I search for hits on my name, I include the negative keywords:
“Graeme Newell” -Sydney -“Real Estate.”

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Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at