If you use Google a lot, you may wonder why sometimes you get great results, and other times why you get terrible results. Is it Google’s fault? Mostly it is Google’s fault, but until they come up with a perfect search engine, you are going to have to help yourself. There are lots of search operators that you can try, but the most important ones are on the advanced section. You can find its link in the Google options, found under a cog like symbol on the top right of the page. If you would like some practical advice on getting better results, then here are a few tips to help you.
1. Don’t Stop at the First Page
So many people look at just one page and then try another search term. Many people think that if their top few links are not right, that the rest of the results are terrible. This is not the case. As you get further and further down the pages, you are going to see less and less relevant results, but you are occasionally going to find the perfect page for you. It just takes a little bit of tenacity.
2. Use CTRL+F to Highlight Words
Hold CTRL and press F. It will bring up your browser search bar on an IE browser. Now type in your most important keyword(S) and click the “next” button. It will highlight your most important keyword(s) within the mini descriptions. It will help you pick between the results, especially if you take note of the bits highlighted in bold too.
3. Learn to Recognize the Sites that Aren’t Useful
There are some websites that are notorious for being thinly written and poor quality. For obvious reasons we cannot write which ones they are here (one of the reasons being that there are so many). Try to keep in mind all of the poor quality websites. When you see your Google link, you will see the websites name underneath.
4. Mini Description is not Always Trustworthy
Sometimes the mini description is misleading and it may be covering what is actually a very good website. It may have your keywords highlighted, and they may seem irrelevant thanks to the way that it is phrase, but those keywords could be a few of a great many. If you are getting stuff for research ideas and cannot find the page for you, then try a few pages that do not seem suitable (you may be surprised).
5. Use the Page Preview Feature
This is where you click the arrow on the right and it shows you a website preview. It may not be the clearest picture of a website, but if the site is all adverts and little content, then you know to give it a miss.
6. Search As if You Wrote The Article/blog/piece/web page
This may seem like an odd thing to do, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of the website designer. For example if a website sells shoes then his/her keywords may be “Sell shoes”, “Shoes for sale”, but as a searcher you may type “buy shoes” and “Shoe sale”. You should try yours first, but then as a last resort, you should try a few keywords that the web designer may have used.
7. Use The Exclusive Quotes
This can be done by using the Google advanced search. Just type a keyword or phrase into the correct section, and it will bring you results that have that word(s) in the page somewhere. If you want to do it in the search bar then type in your query such as:
carrots for sale
and then add the word you really want at the end in quotes like this:
carrots for sale, “carrots”
10. Use the Subtractive Symbol
Using the quotes above will make sure that a keyword or phrase is included. If you use a subtract symbol then it will exclude the word(s). So again, type in your query such as
Carrots for sale
And add in any words that you don’t want to appear with commas between them:
Carrots for sale, -TV, -show, -comedian, -top
11 Try Quite a Few Search Terms Before Giving Up
Lots of people will try the most popular and obvious keywords, try a few web pages, and then give up and try Bing. Try a variety of search terms, and do not be afraid of making them a little more vague than you may normally.
12 Use Web Pages for Search Term Inspiration
When you search for the first time, use a few of the web page results to inspire you for your next search. For example, you could search for “muscle building pills”, and see results that say things such as “muscle building powder” or “bulk up pills”. Use these phrases in your next search and see if you have more luck.
If you are looking for some useful and easy tool for search in Google or Bing – you can try Advangle.
This free tool will let you quickly build any complex query and save it for future use without the use of search operators.
Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks