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Get the Results You Want from Google the First Time

Web searches have replaced virtually every other means of gathering information. The problem is that it can be difficult to know what to search for in order to find the information you need. More than 3 billion Google searches occur daily. How many of those were you today? And how many did you need to perform to find what you needed each time? Here are some tips for making Google work for you the first time, every time.

Google has various “operators” in place to help you be more specific in your search. If you haven’t been using these, you aren’t getting the best search results. For example, let’s say you are looking up song lyrics and you can only remember one line. You put that line into a Google search and every result is for an R Kelly song that uses that same line, but you don’t even like R Kelly and you know that isn’t the right song. You can remove all of his songs from the search with the minus command. Just include –Kelly in the search, and no sites featuring the word Kelly will come up. Still have a problem because similar lines are in more popular songs? Try “putting the whole phrase in quotes like this”. That makes Google search for only exact occurrences. You can even use it to weed out plural forms of a word such as searching for “corn” to find the vegetable without running into podiatry sites about corns.

Here are a few other operators to try:

  • Define: - by typing define: immediately followed by the word you want the definition for, Google will include the definition before giving you related search results.

  • Site: - the Site: command allows you to search for results only with a specific URL.

  • * - The asterisk is like a wildcard. Trying to find a movie quote but can’t remember the exact words? Try it in quotes. For example, “Here’s looking at you * ”.

You can also use an array of symbols in your search. Here are a few to try:

  • % - Google can work as a calculator for you, so the next time you find a great deal on a shirt at 60% off, you can figure out the discount with Google.

  • # - Hashtags rule the social media world, and Google can help you to find out what is trending right now if you search for a specific hashtag.

  • @ - This is another social media shortcut. You can search for your favorite Twitter account or Instagram user.

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