Tips and Tricks For Your Next Google Search
We all love co-workers who find the most up-to-date information–perhaps a website or article we used once but have since forgotten where we found them. Policies and procedures at the government agencies we work with change regularly. For example, the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form submitted to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement was updated in October and again in July.
If you download documents such as the I-9, it’s important to check for the most recently updated version. When “I-9” is searched in Google, the search engine returns 1.3 million results in three quarters of a second! The results on the first page are as recent as July 2017 but also as old as April 2016. There are even advertisements in the results. Luckily, the I-9 is used by all US companies, which means it is “googled” often, which means google “learns” to return the most desired results.
So if you’re looking for information that is less “googled”–perhaps something more specific to your industry–you’ll more likely to have look past the first page of results. How many pages do you go through before you decide you need to change the terms in your search? Four? Five?
However, your search terms may not be the problem. Using Google to filter, sort, and narrow your results is a solution as well. Google has two ways of combing your search results. One is to used its “Advanced Search” page, found at google.com/advanced_search. The second option is to add “codes” to your terms in the search bar.
At the Advanced Search page, you can narrow your searches–which is helpful when you know exactly what you’re looking for, such as a helpful blog post or a company’s name you can’t recall. Other options to narrow the results include by language, region, date, and so on. If you were searching for a copy of the I-9, you might select .pdf as the file type.
It’s possible to filter and narrow from the search bar as well. Using the right codes–or syntax–allows you to narrow, sort, and filter without visiting the advanced search page. For example, most people know that putting quotation marks around a phrase limits the search to only that exact phrase. Did you know, however, that placing a minus sign (or hyphen) in front of a word excludes that word from your results?
There is also a feature which allows you to limit your search to a single website. Say you remembered an article from The Wall Street Journal but couldn’t remember the title, date, or author, insert “site:wsj.com” in the search bar to can tell Google to only search The Wall Street Journal’s website.
Google has done wonders for businesses and consumers alike with it’s ability to find and sort the billions of websites that exist. Sometimes our results are overwhelming. Learning how to narrow, sort, and filter in one more way of accessing all the great resources the internet has to offer–even if they’re hard to find.