April 9th, 2012
by Jennie Jacobs
I am most certain that almost everyone I know has done a basic Google search.
Regardless of my assumptions, one thing I am certain of is the massive amounts of searchable goodness that is available to the population because of the internet and search engines. Pure awesomeness. Remember when you used to have to consult the dewy decimal system at the library when searching for books? I myself hardly remember, and my youngest sister (6 years my junior) definitely does not remember.
But I digress. The reason for this blog post is a simple breakdown of awesome search tips and tricks to get you searching in ways you may have never even thought of. I was inspired when I wrote a blog post on managing ones web reputation and decided to compile a list of search tips to delight and inspire and get you searching like an expert!
1. Quotation Marks – “search“
Surrounding your search phrase with quotation marks keeps the search as clear and explicit as possible. Meaning you are asking the search engine to find exactly what is in the quotation marks, with no room for possibilities. Example: “brand design” will pull up search results with those words, in exact order and that is it. This can be a great tool, however keep in mind you will be missing anything that Google might normally pull for you that is similar, but not exact, just as branding design, brand identity design, design for brands etc.
2. Search Within A Specific Website – search:awesomesite.com
This is a great tip to pull things up quickly for particular website. You can specify that you only want to search for a word or phrase in a particular site by using the colon. Example: branding:webmarketingtherapy.com
or you can be extra specific by using quotation marks like in tip number 1 above:
“Motivating Monday Marketing Music” : webmarketingtherapy.com
I think this comes in particularly handy when I am in a rush to find something I know lives on our website or a site I have been to before, but am not sure where it lives!
3. Excluding Things – Web Marketing Therapy -mental health
To exclude common, related terms from popping up in search results you must employ the minus ( – ) character. The minus ( – ) must be preceded by space and be immediately before the word to work. A great example provided by Google:
jaguar -car -football -os
You can use as many exclusions as you’d like, as long as they are implemented in the correct way!
4. Fill in the blanks wildcard style – web marketing *
The * symbol will help fill in the blanks when words or knowledge alludes you. Google will work to help fill in the blanks, example: econom* will help fill in with economist, economy, and econocom or in the example below, web marketing * to pull up lots of options such as web marketing professional, web marketing agency, web marketing therapy.
5. Definitions – define:therapy
Using (define: ) will give you the definition of any word you need!
Example – define:magic
6. Use Search as a Calculator - /, * , sqrt, – etc.
Use your search bar as a calculator quickly and easily by typing in the expression you need answered. Example : 6*5 for multiplication or the sqrt(20) which will give you the square root of 20 and 60/4 for a division problem:
7. Synonyms – marketing ~web
Use the squiggle (~) to suggest similar words in your search. Again, just like the minus sign ( – ) make sure there is a space before the symbol but not after the symbol.
Note: If you are like me and always forget the alt codes to make random symbols such as ~ this site is a fun reference http://alt-codes.org/list/
And there you have it; 7 incredible ways to get you utilizing search engines like a pro! I hope you all learned something new, because I know I did!
To learn more awesome things you never knew you wanted to learn, follow me on Twitter @jenniejacobs
Great website sources used for this blog post: