#2 of 5 Tricks for Better Online Searching: Complex Search Queries

So if you’re one of those who uses Google exclusively or as one of your top preference, here’s some help on using it to be a quicker, better and smarter searcher.

google-logoToday’s tip: write complex search statements.  Avoid just one or two words in a search and you’ll get fewer and better results.

1. No need for and.

Google and most other search engines automatically put an and between your words so a search heat index looks for the words “heat” and “index”.   So no need to put in an and.

2. Use phrases.

Using the quotes, type “heat index”  rather than heat index.  The latter looks for the word heat and the word index on the same page.  So it might pick up a web page talking about economic indicators with the marketing heating up and funds being indexed. If you want to understand about warm weather then you ask the search engine to look for the phrase by putting it in quotes.

Also if you want an exact word  you can put it in quotes, as  Iphone “4”, which will not pick up the Iphone 4s.

3. Use Boolean logic

What the British mathematician George Boole came up with nearly two centuries ago is still good for the 21st century.

  • OR Try synonyms or similar words such as: Zimmerman (trial or verdict). By putting the or words in parantheses then that operation is done together.
  • NOT If you keep getting a word you don’t want, put in the word not  or use a minus sign. Google will not include that word. For example, if you want to find out about the finances of the city of Detroit but get results about the baseball team, the Tigers, try either of these: Detroit finance not Tigers, or Detroit finance -Tigers

 4. Add  special characters

  • The tilde sign, ~,  will search for synonyms when you can’t think of them. Put it before a term and it will look for that term and similar ones. So ~inexpensive, Google says,  will bring up inexpensive as well as cheap, affordable and low cost
  •  The asterisk searches for a missing word in a phrase so if you wanted to know when the Bill of Rights was adopted you could think what sentence might have that that information in it and replicate it. For example, the Bill of Rights was adopted in * 
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