Introduction to Internet Searches Using Google
Do not be dismayed by the following reference list. This is a short article.
- Optimizing internet searches with Google.
- Importance of advanced internet search.
- How to do internet searches on Google.
This article is about how to get the most from your internet searches when using Google. Most users fail to use 90% of a Google's search engine capability. This article addresses that problem. It should be noted that this article is written as a review of Google's search functionality, capabilities, and results.
The Basics of Internet Searches and Keywords on Google
For basic internet searches there are only a few things to keep in mind.
1. Keep it simple.
2. Searches are case insensitive.
3. Punctuation and words like “to”, “in”, “of”, “a”, “the”, etc. are ignored.
4. Use the words most commonly used by everyone else for a given subject.
5. Descriptive words are better than generic words.
6. Every word matters. Too many words will limit your results beyond what you want. This is because the default interpretation by the search engine is that every word must be included. [Update: Google seems to have changed this under certain circumstances.]
7. Word order matters. Prioritize your words in order of importance; starting with the most important word first.
|One of Google's data centers. Source: .gov|
Using Search Operators for Internet Searches on Google
1. The “+” sign. Search engines automatically include synonyms in the results. If you don’t want that, and only want to see results for the exact word; then put a “+” immediately preceding your search word (no space in between), e.g. +xyz.
2. The “-“ sign. If your internet search results have too many entries about an unrelated subject, you can get rid of them. Just put a “-“ sign immediately preceding the subject word that you don’t want to see (no space in between), e.g. -xyz.
3. The “OR” operator. The search engine’s default method of search (item #6 above) is set as if the “AND” operator is being used. To prevent that for inquires where you want either word, instead of both, you use the “OR” operator. For example: xyz abc will only give results having both entries, whereas: xyz OR abc will give you results having either or both entries.
4. The use of the quote symbol (“xyz”). For an exact quote or an exact phrase match, just put your text in quotes, e.g. “To Be or Not to Be”.
|It's in here somewhere... Source: .gov|
Some Advanced Internet Search Methods on Google
On the Google homepage is an Advanced Search link, but you have to work to get to it. First, just do a usual search; the advanced-search option will then show up at the top of the search-page results (unless they've moved it again). Click the little gear at the top, far right; then make selection. The Advanced Search page implements all of the items previously described and more. All of the entry boxes are self-explanatory. The “Search within a site or domain”, is quite useful. It will often give you better results than your target site’s own search box.
At the bottom of the advanced-search page, below the search-button, are even more advanced-search options, giving you even more capability. All are quite useful. Use the Safe Search option if so inclined.
On the homepage also make note of the additional options listed at top-right, e.g. images, etc. These venues also have advanced feature capabilities.
One particularly useful feature...
...is the ability to restrict what websites are searched. The basic command is "site:.". Note the colon and note the dot. You can do this by navigating through the advanced search options menus, or you can do it directly from the front page search box.
You want to know what CNN has to say about President Obama.
Putting the following command in the search box will accomplish this:
You want to find public domain pictures of bears.
On the images page, the command in the search box would be:
Side note: federal website content is usually public domain. State websites can be kind of iffy.
How to Search for Images
All of the above works equally well for images; sometimes even better. When initially arriving at the Google homepage, simply click the text menu option at upper right and proceed as usual.
A Note about the Google News Page
The Google News Page seems to be relatively worthy. Aside from the usual search capabilities, you can configure the default page to display only what you want. And to display only how little or how much you want of what you want. Clicking the little gear icon to the right of the search box gives you this capability.
At the bottom of the page, you can also set up news alerts on any topic or search query. Just select About Google News, and then select Alerts.
You will also notice on the About Google News page several other features that might be of interest.
And here is a short, interesting infographic by Google.
May all your internet searches be prosperous ones.