Posted by Mark Harari
Did you know that Google averages over 40,000 searches per second? That translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day. How many of those 3.5 billion searches do you think are yours? 20? 50? 100? If you’re anything like me, then you are well over the 100 mark. You may be shaking your head saying to yourself, “nah, no way it’s that many times.” But think about it. I think you’d be surprised at how many times you’re Googling throughout the day. So today I thought I’d share six lesser-known ways to use Google efficiently. After all, your time is money. If you can shave just 60 seconds off your search time, then you’re freeing up least 20 minutes per day. (Though I suspect it would be much more than that.)
While you may already know a few of the techniques I describe below, many are lesser known but highly effective methods for exploiting the true power of Google quickly and efficiently. Some of these techniques use what are referred to as “Operators.” In laymen’s terms, an Operator gives Google specific instructions it must follow. As I give examples below, I will use highlighted text like this to illustrate exactly what should be typed into the search box.
Use quotes to find an exact phrase. “ways to build a workforce” will only find websites that use the exact phrase ways to build a workforce, in that order. But that still gives us 258,000 results. So to narrow it down, you can combine this technique with standard search like so: remodeler “ways to build a workforce”. This will find pages that contain the word remodeler anywhere and the exact phrase ways to build a workforce.
- Don’t include
Use the minus sign [-] to exclude words from the results. This is real handy when your search could be easily confused. Say you have an applicant you want to look up and his name happens to be Kevin James. You could immediately limit many of the erroneous results by searching for something like this: kevin james -actor -comedian -film. This should exclude websites which contain the words actor, comedian and film.
The asterisks [*] symbol is a wildcard. This is useful when you can’t remember an entire phrase. It works particularly well in conjunction with quotes.
For example: “the good the * and the ugly” should find the phrase you’re looking for.
You can limit your search results to a specific website by using [site:].
For example: site:remodelersadvantage.com workshops will search for pages containing the word “workshops” only within the Remodelers Advantage website.
- File types
This is a big one. If you seek a specific file, such as PDF documents, Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets, then use the “filetype:” operator.
So searching for filetype:PDF child car safety Will return PDF documents which contain child car safety.
- Image Search
Okay, so I’m sure you’ve seen the “image search” option on Google. But I’ll bet you $5 to a donut that you’ve never used it like this. It’s not necessarily just for finding images. For example, I just did a search for HOW MUCH TO PAY A CARPENTER.
You’ll see one of the first images is a map of the U.S. When you click on it you see a map of the mean wage in 2015 by state. You can then click the “visit page” button to be taken to the webpage.
This isn’t fool-proof, but it’s a great fall back when you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for. So next time you search for something try the image search and see how it goes.
Google does pretty good on it’s own. It’s hard to comprehend the vast number of processes it’s going through in nanoseconds. But still, it’s only as good as it’s weakest link — you and me.
Since Google can’t read our minds (though it’s getting pretty close with auto-complete) its ability to find what you’re looking for still rests in your hands. Using these techniques and operators can only help increase efficiency and success with the world’s most popular search engine.
And by the way, if you’re searching for the answer to life, the universe, and everything, Google has the answer. Just search for answer to life, the universe, and everything.