It’s Not a Big Secret: It’s Just Google

 

Much like a Swiss army knife, Google’s search engine has many facets. Researchers miss some of the best content online because they’re not using the proper search tools and parameters.

Remember that content is king, and quality content is the regent queen mother whispering in his ear. Internet users are not going to be interested in an article that is either wrongly informed, poorly designed, outdated or badly written. With 360 million websites on the web, it’s easy to see that there is awful content out there, mixed in with the good stuff. Google can help you differentiate. By using “Boolean” searches, you can cull the Internet to find the perfect articles, images, videos and education for your blog or business page.

The term “Boolean” comes from the term Boolean Logic, from a man named George Boole who lived in the 1800s. Skip to today, and watch Google use that logic to corral the Internet into a manageable list. You’ll be using it, too. It may seem strange at first to use 200-year-old set of mathematical commands, but you can do it.

What do “search parameters” mean on Google? They are an added bit of text within your search terms that will allow you to “talk” to the search engine and relay your search quest. When you type in a phrase or question, Google’s search engine doesn’t automatically know the specifics of what you’re looking for. Deliverance is in the tiny details; let’s take a look at how to “tell” Google what you’re searching for in a more focused way.

In this guide below, you will see some basic text additions you can make to your search terms to narrow your focus and give the Google search engines some parameters. Using Google is like being Sherlock Holmes; you are constantly tuning in on your subjects in order to find out everything you need to know about them.

For a specific phrase search

Put your search in quotes [ “ ” ]

Ex. search: “How to start an urban garden”

    • The user desires to find out how to start an urban garden, but they want to be specific. They’re looking only for pages that say their exact phrase. The quotation marks tell Google to look for that string of words together, and nothing else.

It looks like this:

For a word elimination

Use the minus symbol in your search [ – ]

Ex. search: “How to wash a bat” animal -baseball

    • The user wants to wash an animal bat. Searching for “how to wash a bat” by itself has brought up results about a baseball bat, but that’s not what they want. They are telling Google to eliminate any results where a page contains the word “baseball”

It looks like this:

When searching through a specific website

Use the term “site:” before your search [ site: ]

Ex. search: site:nytimes.com “Maine”

    • The user wants to find out what the New York Times says about vacationing in Maine. They have told Google, with this text command, to search only the websites under the domain and website “nytimes.com.” This is so that they will see strictly what the NY Times has written and no one else.

It looks like this:

Other Search Parameters

  • Time Parameters
    • You can search within any timeframe that you want. This helps to keep your content current. Search within the last month or 3 months, or a year.

It looks like this:

 

There you have it. If you’d like to get brave, there are many more Google Boolean search parameters at https://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861, where you’ll be able to qualify even more strictly what it is you’re searching for. The Google blog search and timeframe parameters are incredibly helpful as well, allowing you to stay on top of original, updated content about the subjects and industries you need to know.

So don’t think that the gateway to great, quality content is some big secret. You can cull and fine-tune your searches to get the best articles, images, and periphery on the web.

 

This article was written by Corissa Poley – Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Corissa lives in Portland, Maine and believes Maine is the best state in the U.S. She brings her can-do attitude from the busy pace of her former residence in the New York/New Jersey Area. Her professional experience with the Portland Public Library, green construction publishing, Apple Inc., and the Information Technology Group at University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives her a diverse outlook to feed her ever-curious and creative mind. You can reach Corissa at [email protected] or connect with her on Twitter.

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