Everyone is time poor. When we look for information online, we want it right away. Whether it’s for an essay at uni or a report at work, we need our online information searches to deliver – quickly.

Google search is a brilliant tool. It’s fast, and it presents thousands of results almost instantly. However, it can throw irrelevant and downright incorrect results your way as well.  Sifting through these results can be time-consuming.

You can save yourself time wading through irrelevant Google results by focusing your search.

Make your Google search deliver targeted results by trying these strategies:

  • Use quotation marks for phrases to narrow your search. “dog grooming” will bring more focused results than dog grooming
  • Use a plus sign to include a word in your search. pets +cats will return results for pets that are cats, rather than for both pets and cats
  • Use a minus sign to exclude words. For example, pets -cats will cut references to cats from your search results
  • Use OR to search for results that include either of the search terms, e.g. dogs OR cats
  • Use parentheses to organise multiple search strategies, e.g. (cats OR dogs OR training)
  • Use an asterisk to replace a whole word you’re not sure about, e.g. Dorothy the *
  • Narrow your question so that it’s simple and uses keywords only. Vet in Albury will yield better results that where can I find a vet in my area to treat my dog’s paw
  • Use synonyms if your original search isn’t successful
  • Change the order that you enter your search terms. This can have an effect on the order your results are displayed. Cats and dogs will deliver different results to dogs and cats
  • Use numeric ranges for anything to do with numbers – years, temperatures, distances, prices, etc. Enter your two numbers with two full stops between them as part of your search, e.g. cat population forecasts 2015..2030

These simple tips can make it easier for Google find what you need without all the clutter. Give them a try and see for yourself!

Next time we’ll share advanced tips for using Google search and show you some of its best-kept secrets.