How to use Google more efficiently: 15 tips and tricks

How frustrating is it when you just can’t find what you’re looking for? I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there! Chances are, we’re simply not searching efficiently… Let’s take a look at how to use Google to its full potential, so you get the results you want, in a fraction of the time.

1.     Use the tabs

Tip número uno; use the tabs at the top of the search page. Usually Web, Image, News, and More (it will change according to what you’ve googled). These tabs will help you to define what kind of search you need to do.

For example, if you are looking for a news article, use the News tab. If you’re after images, select the images tab!

Tabs are a relatively well-known way of narrowing your search, and many people use them already. So, if you currently don’t, I’d highly recommend starting, tabs can help cut your search times down quite a lot!

2.     Back to basics

Google is one smart cookie and can search for a broad range of things. What I mean by this is that in some instances you don’t need to be too specific. If you need an IT Support that’s near you, simply search IT support near me, or IT support nearby.

Google will use your location to provide you with all your local IT Support companies!

3.     Track packages!

By entering your UPS, USPS, or Fedex tracking number directly into Google, it will show you tracking information on your package! Much easier than spending time finding the site, correct page etc.

4.     Get straight to the point, use important words only

The way Google search works is to take what you search for and match it with keywords in online content.

Sometimes searching for too many words may limit your results. Meaning it may take you longer to find what you’re looking for. Let’s see an example:

  • Don’t use: Where can I find a company that offers fully managed IT?
  • Instead, try: Fully managed IT nearby.
  • Or: Fully managed IT near me.

Doing this can help Google find what you need without all the clutter. So, remember, keep it simple and use important words only.

5.     Use descriptive words

Pretty much everything can be described in multiple ways. If you have trouble finding what you’re searching for, keep in mind that people may search or define what you need in a different way than you do. If you search for something and you can’t find an answer, try asking the same question using different words and see if that helps the results!

6.     Use quotations to search for the exact order

If you are trying to search for something specific, using quotation marks can help minimise the guesswork for Google search.

Searching “Managed IT Support Bristol” will only bring back results that include all those words, in that order. However, a search for Managed IT Support Bristol will give you results with all the words, but not necessarily in the order you want.

7.     Search multiple words at once

Google search knows that you may not find what you’re looking for using one single word or phrase. So, it lets you search for multiples!

This simple trick allows you to search for one word or phrase along with a second word or phrase. Helping to narrow down your search and find exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s how it works: “Best ways to prevent phishing attacks” OR “How to protect against phishing attacks”

By searching like that, you will search both phrases. By using quotation marks, these two exact phrases will be searched.

8.     Using the minus (-) symbol to exclude terms

If you want to exclude certain terms from your search results, you can use the minus symbol to eliminate terms you don’t want. This can be useful when there is more than one meaning or version of something.

9.     Use a colon to search specific sites

You may want to use Google to search for content on a certain website. To do this you’d follow the arrangement of Content/person you want to look for: URL of website, for example if you wanted to see all of our website content on Cyber Security, and only our content, you’d search: Cyber Security:Netitude.co.uk

If you need to find specific content on a specific website, this is your shortcut.

10. Gradually add search terms

There will be instances when your Google search doesn’t pile out the results you expect. If this is the case, keeping it simple may not be the best option.

As Google itself suggests, the best method is to start with something simple then gradually get more complicated. See the example below:

First try: Phishing

Second try: Protect against Phishing

Third try: How to protect against Phishing?

This will gradually refine the search to bring you fewer, more targeted terms. The reason you don’t go straight from the first try to the third try is that you may miss what you’re looking for by skipping the second step.

Millions of websites phrase the same information in several different ways; by using this technique you’ll search as many of them as possible to find the best info.

11. Search titles only

Use the search intitle: to look for words in the webpage title. Example; Cyber Security intitle:importance will only look for sites about cyber security that have the word “importance” in the title. Equally, allintitle: will only give you links with multiple words in the title i.e. allintitle: office dog Netitude.

12. Use the asterisk wildcard

When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a brilliant way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. Let’s look at the syntax: “I *Mr. worldwide* flame”

It may look like nonsense to you and me. But Google search will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word.

The search will tell you that they are lyrics to Pitbull’s song “Fireball”.

13. Use Google search for quick maths

It’s true, Google search can do maths for you – not all problems but a good number of them. This is a rather complex one to describe because it can be used in so many ways. You can ask it basic questions or some more difficult ones.

Here are some examples:

  • 14 * 6 + 9
  • Pi

If you search the first one, it’ll give you the answer 93 – pretty slick, right? It will also show a calculator that you can use to find answers to more questions. This is handy if you need to do some quick math but don’t want to do it in your head.

If you search for the second term, it will return the number value of Pi.

14. Conversions

Google search can quickly and accurately convert both measurement units and currency value. There are a variety of uses for this, like checking to see the conversion rate between two currencies, for example:

  • Miles to km – This will convert miles to kilometres. You can put numbers in front to convert a certain number. Like “5 miles to km” will show you how many kilometres are in 5 miles.
  • GBP to USD – This will convert British pounds into US dollars. Like the measurements above, you can add numbers to find exact conversions for a certain amount of money.

15. Find a specific file

A relatively unknown or forgotten about Google search feature is the ability to search for a specific file or file type. This can be extremely useful if you need a specific PDF or PowerPoint file that you previously viewed or need to use for another project. How do you do this? Search: *Search term here* filetype:pdf

In the above example, you simply replace the search term with whatever you’re searching for. Then use the filetype command and enter the extension of any file type you can think of. For example cyber security facts filetype:pdf will give you all the PDF’s containing cyber security facts!

This can mostly be useful for scholarly purposes, but this kind of search can be beneficial for business presentations and other assorted presentations too!

So, there you have it, our top 15 tricks to get the best of out Google search.

Using the tips listed above, you’ll be able to find anything and everything in a fraction of the time!

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