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How to Use Search Operators to "Google" Like a Pro
The internet was not coined the "Information Superhighway" for nothing. It's a complex network database storing knowledge from billions of sites across the globe. And while website best practices have been put in place to ensure users can always find what they looking for in general and brand specific, the reality is best practices are not always followed.
The situation with most sites
Despite it being 2018, most sites are not always laying out information on their site in a logical and easy to use manner or don't believe in following SEO or UX protocol. Some business' are implementing basics but don't have the budget or know how to take the site to the next level.
The reality is that every business has its challenges, and the aforementioned best practices just might not be the priority of most companies right now. The result is that the everyday internet user cannot always find what they looking for.
How to find exactly what you looking for on Google
As a search practitioner your is to dig through Google's index and find as much dirt on a site as possible (so we can fix I of course). One of the neat tricks we have learned is to used advanced search operators to find exactly what we looking for.
Not only do we use these for work, but in everyday searches, from information gathering to online shopping. I can always find exactly what I'm looking on google, that I might not find if I do an internal site search on most e-commerce shopping sites. Here are some nifty tips so you can learn to do the same.
10 Operators to help you refine your web searches
Your searches can be refined to get you more specific results by using a combination of symbols or words to assist.
- Search social media Use an at
- Find Hashtags Use a hashtag
- Find an exact match To find an exact match to your search query, wrap a word or phrase inside quotes.
- Use wildcards if you not sure of the exact wording If you not sure of the exact working, but have a basic search phrase in mind, use an
- Search within your budget Use a currency
- Search within a range of numbers If you looking for data between a range of numbers, use two full
- Exclude specific words from your search If your search results are not refined enough and you want to exclude results from certain groups, use a dash or subtraction
- Specify numerous options with a combined search If you looking for two or more options, use he word
- Search for results from a specific site If you looking for something specific from a specific site, you can refine search results to only show pages from that a site by using the site search operator
- Find similar or related sites If you have a specific site you like and looking for options similar to it, you can use the related search operator
(" ")This works great you searching for specific products or specific sources housing certain information. You can even use it to find journal articles or books by placing extracts of the text in quotes. Example Search
"and the dish ran away with the spoon"
"and the * ran away with the spoon"
(R, $, £, €, etc.)
Hot Tip: Google Search usually ignores punctuation that isn’t part of a search operator.
running shoes -totalsports.co.za -nike -asicsThe above search will exclude all results from the total sports sire as well as all pages referencing
ORbetween search terms to specify what you are looking for. Example Search:
running shoes nike OR asics
site:in front of the site domain name. Example Search:
Hot Tip: Don’t put spaces between the symbol or word and your search term. A search for
site:nichemarket.co.zawill work, but
related:with the site name to find more options. Example Search:
Try some of the above search operators to save you some time and frustration and get what you want from Google. If you have any questions relating to search operators or have anything you would like to add to the post, comment below or contact us here.