Google Search Tips: Expert Advice for Targeted Results


Everyone uses Google to research information. Whether it’s news, events or shopping for furniture, it’s the first place to go. Quite often searches can be time consuming, but with these simple tips, you can start getting more relevant search results – faster!

1. Use the tabs for different types of search results. Let’s say you’re trying to find a news story about the increasing price of oranges.

The first step may be to type rising price of oranges and press enter.

When your search results come back, take a look near the top of the page. There are a few tabs to give you more specific results. For example, Web, Image, News, Shopping, Videos, etc.

In this case, you would click the News tab to see a display of results from news providers, such as journals and magazines.

2. Use the minus sign to exclude words. Some words have two or more meanings, and adding a minus sign to the search will help you to get the type of results you’re looking for. Consider the following:

If you type the word mouse, you may get a combination of results referring to the animal, and also the mouse that is used with a computer.

To focus your search on the animal, and exclude references to a computer mouse, type mouse –computer.

3. Use quotes. You can get more accurate search results if you use quotes when you search. This will prompt Google to produce results just the way you typed the words inside the quotes. Here’s a scenario:

If you searched the phrase affordable office furniture, you will get results that may include information for anything that is affordable or relates to an office, or retailers that sell furniture (of any kind).

To get more relevant results, enter the three words within quotes as “affordable office furniture”. This will return those words as they appear next to each other of different websites.

4. Gradually add search words, as needed. Sometimes, your initial search criteria will produce results that are too general. If that happens, add more specific words. Here’s an example:

Search 1: solar energy
Search 2: solar energy panels
Search 3: solar energy panels for homes

This will refine the search to bring you fewer, more targeted results.

5. Type search terms that are task-based. Always keep in mind that although Google is a powerful tool, it can’t figure out what you want to do, unless you tell it.

Instead of typing sore throat, type how to relieve a sore throat. This will help you get results based on websites that contain this phrase, and can help you solve this particular problem.

Hopefully, these tips for better Google search results will help you to conduct your research more efficiently. Efficiency and accuracy are key elements of good research and better productivity. Happy “Googling”!

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Order our quick reference card about the finer points of searching using Google, as well as how to use Google Maps effectively: Google In-Depth: Search & Maps Quick Reference