Are you using Google search for finding appropriate pages as you need ? You might have observed that search results are irrelevant many times. We will check out some good techniques and tricks to get appropriate search result on Google in this article.
Simple Search Strategies
Google keeps the specifics of its page-ranking techniques secret, but here are a few things we know about what
makes pages appear at the top of your search:
– your search terms appears in the title of the web page
– your search terms appear in links that lead to that page
– your search terms appear in the content of the page (especially in headers)
When you choose the search terms you enter into Google, think about the titles you would expect to see on these
pages or that you would see in links to these pages. The more well-known your search target, the more easy it will
be to find. Obscure topics or topics that share terms with more common topics will take more work to find.
Enter a single word
Enter the one word that you associate with your topic. Typically this will return too many results (unless the term is
a commercial trademark and you are looking for the company’s web site).
Enter several words
When you enter more than one word, Google assumes you want pages with ALL of these words present. This also
often returns too many results. The pages you get will have all the words in any order, and they may or may not be
near each other. For example, if you enter a first and last name, you may get some pages of the person you seek, but
unless they are very well known, you will also get pages where a list of names contains one person with the first
name and another person with the last name.
Note: Google will exclude common words (“where”) and single letters and numbers (“A” or “2”) to speed up your
search if these are essential to finding what you need, see below for ways to make sure they are included.
Enter a phrase in quotes
This is the most effective way to limit a search. Google will return pages with these words in this exact order. This is
good if you are searching for a specific phrase (“PowerPoint is Evil”) a name, (“Edward Tufte”) or if there is a
sentence that you would associate with the page you seek (“How to use PowerPoint”). Quotes will also force Google
to search for excluded terms.
“I Feel Lucky” takes you to the top item in the search
If you use Google to find sites that you know are popular (such as the Apple Web site), you can click the “I Feel
Lucky” link to bypass the search results and go straight to the top of the list. While this works well for commercial
sites, it is less certain for other searches. Some practical jokesters have exploited this feature (try searching for
“weapons of mass destruction”).
Narrowing a Search (if you have too many results)
Use + to require specific keywords to be considered
If you want to require Google to search for common words, numbers and characters that it would typically exclude
from a search, put a plus sign ( + ) in front of them or place them within a quoted phrase.
Google Search Techniques
word1 +word2 will force Google to include word2 in the search
Use – to exclude keywords associated with unrelated topics
If your keyword can have more than one meaning (such as “virus”) place a minus sign ( – ) before any keywords that
would be associated with topics you do not want to see in the results.
Example: virus –computer would return only Web pages about biological viruses.
Add site: to search only specific sites or types of sites:
If you are getting too many commercial (.com) results or know that what you are looking for is at a specific site, you
can limit your search to specific areas on the Internet by entering site: and a domain name after your search terms.
word1 site:pbs.org will search only on the pbs site.
word1 site:.edu will search only education sites
word1 site:.gov will search only government sites (good for finding public-domain materials)
word1 site:.org will search only non-profit sites (mostly), museums, libraries, etc.
word1 site:.ma.us will search only sites in Massachusetts (can also use other county codes, e.g. .uk)
Add filetype: to search for documents other than Web pages
Filetype:pdf will return only files in the PDF format (good for finding handouts and worksheets). You can also use
this to search for PowerPoint (.ppt) MS Word (.doc) Flash ( .swf) and many other kinds of files.
Search Within a Google Directory
From within Google or via http://directory.google.com/, browse or search within specific categories.
Expanding a Search (if you don’t get enough)
Use or to search for multiple terms
word1 OR word2 finds pages that include either word
Use ~ to search for synonyms of a term
~word1 finds pages that include word1 or its synonyms
Use * as a “wildcard” with your search terms
“word1 * word2” finds pages that includes this phrase where * can be any one word
If you are having trouble getting results, it may be that the authors of the pages on a given topic use specific jargon
to describe what you are looking for. In this situation, consider using a directory-style site that lets you select topics
from a list (Google, Yahoo, and About all have directory interfaces), locating a few pages this way will help you
familiarize yourself with the terms associated with the topic you are researching.
Google’s Image Search
The Google image search is a great way to find pictures. You use the same Google search techniques, but the results
will be a collection of small images (“thumbnails”).
To capture an image you find in Google:
1. Click the thumbnail in Google to go to the page with the image.
2. Locate the image on the page, or click See Full-Size Image at the top to open just the image.
3. Right-click on the full-size image (control-click on a Mac). A popup menu will appear.
4. Select “Save image as…” or something similar (depends on browser).
5. Save the file on your hard drive or portable disk.
To use the image in Word, PowerPoint or other Microsoft program:
1. Go to Insert > Picture > From File
2. Locate the image file on disk and select it. It will appear on the page.
Other software packages will have similar commands such as Insert, Place or Import.
Advanced Image Search:
Use the Advanced Image Search to specify the kind of images you want Google to find:
Size – the size of the image will determine what you can use it for. If you want an image that will print well or fill a
PowerPoint slide, search for “large” images ( 500 or more pixels on a side).
Filetypes – JPG files will work best for photographs. GIF files are OK for simple line art, but don’t resize well. PNG
is a relatively new format that may not work in all programs.
Coloration – lets you search only for black and white, line art or full color images.
Domain – limits the image search to a single site or domain. This is especially useful for images because .gv sites
tend to contain more images that are in the public domain.
Filtering Objectionable Materials
Google’s Safesearch feature operates in “moderate filtering” mode by default. This blocks nearly all sexually
explicit content from your results. If you want to be more certain, change the Preferences to strict filtering. If you
are researching a topic that may be blocked, you can turn filtering off.
Not everything you find on the Web can be used for free. In most cases, you do not have to ask permission of the
copyright holder for a one-time use of an image in a classroom. You should get permission before reproducing the
file for use by others—some copyright holders don’t mind individual use, but want to control any further
duplication. Watch out for materials that are specifically marketed as classroom materials (such as worksheets), they may require a fee or permission.
For detailed instructions on these and other features go to http://www.google.com/help/
If it is hard to remember the correct codes for special searches, or if you are interested in finding out what else
Google can do, visit the Advanced Search page. It provides a simple form that includes all of the techniques
mentioned above, plus much more: languages, dates, locations of keywords, all kinds of attributes that can be used
to craft more effective searches.
Searching for other kinds of information
Definitions (define:) this search will return definitions listed in online dictionaries. In addition to
standard definitions, this also returns jargon definitions from specific disciplines such as
sports, science, geek, etc. (e.g. try “pickle”).
Contact information when you enter a person or business name with a location (city, state) any contact
information listed in an online white page will appear in the results.
Phone number (phonebook: rphonebook: bphonebook:) when you enter a phone number, any name or
address listed in an online white page will appear in the results
Address entering a full address will return a link to a map to that location.
Calculations entering mathematical expressions will return the result simple math (+ – * /)
exponentials (^) percentage (% of) even advanced math (see the Google site for details)
Saving a search
If you work hard on a search that you want to keep, you can bookmark it for future use. You can also copy the URL
from the location field in the browser and paste it into a Word file or email message.
Shortcuts to Google tools:
www.google.com >> search for Web pages
www.google.com/help >> learn more about using Google
news.google.com >> search news sources on the Web
images.google.com >> search for pictures on the Web
directory.google.com >> browse categories of Web pages
answers.google.com >> experienced researchers find answers for a fee // is closed at this moment
groups.google.com >> search the content of online discussions
froogle.google.com >> search for items on sale on the Web
labs.google.com >> check out the latest inventions from Google
Google Zeitgeist >> http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html (or search for google zeitgeist)
Google Zeitgeist History >> http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist/archive.html
Googleism >> http://www.googlism.com – searches for declarative statements: “___ is ___”
GooglePeople >> http://www.avaquest.com – enter questions starting with “who”
Google Smackdown >> http://www.onfocus.com/googlesmack/down.asp – find out which of two terms is mentioned
more on the Web.
“GoogleWhacking” – a term for finding a two word search with only one result