Google Search Tips
Some of my favorite time savers
DC the Computer guy
With so much competition out there, we all need some good Google Search Tips to quickly find accurate information. Providing customers with the right information has always been critical to success in the small business world, but even more so with all the search engines available on the internet. At Clark Computer Services, we provide Managed IT Services to over 400 small businesses, and in doing so, we often come across systems or issues that we haven’t seen before. That’s just part of this type of business, but it’s also the last thing a customer wants to hear.
In order to continue providing the 5-Star Support for which we are known, we must excel at finding information quickly.
Over the years, I’ve had to master the ability to dig deep into internet searches. Whether because I needed to access back-end tools on a computer that came with a new client, find a fix for a hardware or network issue, research software bugs, or any of a multitude of other problems. I can’t tell you how often I’ve found myself working into the wee hours of the night on a downed system. It has always been my ability to find information fast that allowed me to ensure that my client’s employees would be able to work when they arrived in the morning.
I’ve often helped clients to find the information they need, whether IT-related or not. The most common thing I’ve noticed is a reliance on the use of “keywords” in these internet searches. When using keywords or focus words to describe the search, the web browser runs those terms against an indexed library of websites to match your search results to the appropriate websites – this is where they get the list of websites you see. Except that sometimes using keywords doesn’t provide the information you want.
That’s when Advanced Googling becomes important.
Google has lots of advanced techniques, but to keep this blog at a tolerable length, I’m reviewing only those I find most useful to enhance my keyword searches. Below are four examples – in each, I provide the technique with the text in bold and examples below.
This is how most people start their search.
Quotation Marks (""):
For example, “exact match” returns fewer pages than using the keywords “exact” and “match.”
You can also use quotes on a single word to have Google match the word precisely.
For example, handbook template filetype:pdf will return only Adobe PDF files that contain the words “handbook” and “Template"
I use this a lot to find manuals on systems I’ve never seen before or to look for examples of documents I need to write for clients.
Negative Sign (-):
For example, falcon speed -bird removes the pages that contain the word “bird.”
This quickly removes the “clutter” from your search results, and you can use the negative sign on multiple words.
For example, Outlook Tips site:micrsoft.com will search through only Microsoft’s website for the keywords “Outlook” and “Tips.”
You can also restrict to a domain type, for example, HIPAA guidance site:gov will search only government sites for the keywords “HIPAA” and “guidance.”
Try using these techniques the next time you are doing a search that isn’t returning the results you want. You’ll find that one of these advanced Googling techniques will almost certainly do the trick!
One Last Thing: Google provides an advanced search page. To get to it, type “advanced google search” into Google and click on the first link.
Hopefully, you find these helpful, and if you have any of your own, I’d love to see them in the comments section below.
President And Owner
I left big business to start Clark Computer Services in 2003; not because I had a grand vision, but because I had three young children who needed their Dad around. Knowing I had to replace my salary, I went door-to-door visiting small businesses to introduce myself and ask if they needed IT support. I heard story after story from business owners and office managers about IT companies not returning calls and emails, grumpy technicians showing up late or not at all, and systems being down for days, weeks, and in some cases…months. I realized quickly that there was a clear and pressing need for reliable, honest, and professional IT support completed pleasantly and on time.