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How to use Google search properly and make the most of your online search

How to use Google search properly and make the most of your online search

From finding out who stars in a movie to how to grow lemon trees, we are all using Google to quench our thirst for information.

Most people just type in the first few words that come into their heads, but there is a better way. Here are some tips to improve your research skills and make the most of your online search.

Credit to Pixabay

First, here are a few tips on how to do some of the more common searches on Google. Looking for customer service phone numbers is popular. For faster results, try typing in the company name followed by ‘customer service’. For the money and unit conversions, simply type, for example, ‘20USD to AUD’ (or Australian dollar), or ‘10 miles to km’, and use ‘define:’ to quickly learn the meaning of a word, such as ‘define:plethora’.

For more general searches, firstly, are you looking in the right place? Underneath the Google search box, there are a number of search tabs that can be used to narrow down your searches, such as news, images, videos, and books.

Drilling down further to a specific website will also make searching quicker and more relevant. Simply type ‘site:’ in front of a website. For example, if you’re looking for information on fertilisers, in particular, something you remembered watching Gardening Australia, just type ‘site:abc.net.au/gardening fertiliser’. Or even narrow your search for specific keyword e.g. renovations for government websites: ‘site:.gov.au renovations’.

You are probably familiar with using quotes to return an exact match of what you want, but the minus sign is a useful strategy to eliminate specific words you’re not interested in from your search result. You may want information about jaguar the big cat but not the car, so search for ‘jaguar –car’.

Combining searches helps you to narrow down what you are looking for. Put ‘OR’ between each word or phrase, for example, searching for chocolate OR “white chocolate” to return results with either chocolate or white chocolate.

An asterisk is another useful trick within quotes to specify unknown or variable words. Think of it as a wildcard that will search all variations of that phrase. It’s useful to find words you can’t make out from movies or songs, such as “Film Stars Don’t Die in *”. Google search will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisk can be any word.

Written by Cynthia Karena and posted on 23rd March 2018.

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