To use better search methods, we need to understand the simplified definitions of two words that are used through-out the Search series.
Operator: A word or symbol which helps the user command the computer to perform a logical manipulation.
Boolean: Boolean logic are the terms and, or, not and near that search engines recognize as commands to perform commands in setting the search string.
Lets do a quick review of the last post before we dig into the meat of Google’s Better Search Methods.
- Entering your keywords in the search box with a space in between them gives you the Boolean AND term. This means all the words are to be found in the pages of the returned search results.
- Using the Boolean OR between words will return pages with one OR the other and not necessarily both of them. Simply one OR the other.
- The minus sign (-) is the equivalent of the Boolean NOT term. Make sure that the – is directly in front of the word with no space between them. Google will then exclude the word from the search results.
- Quotation marks outside a phrase cause Google to include all the words in the precise order they were entered. Example: “search for these words” will bring pages that contain the phrase exactly as written in the search box.
There is a long list of Google advanced search operators. Many of them can be combined to form a very sophisticated search term. If you are like me, not wanting to undertake memorizing a list of terms and how they work, Google has an out. It’s called the Advanced Search Page.
The form has a number of boxes to fill in but is really self-explanatory. Each entry section is followed by a few word of what the entry will accomplish. Each option will help Google to fine-tune your search.
So, what better options are available on the Advanced Search Page?
Find pages with:
- All these words: identical to Google standard search, The Boolean AND term.
- This exact word or phrase: same results as using quotation marks.
- Any of these words: same as using the Boolean OR term.
- None of these words: it’s the same as using the minus (-) sign
- Numbers ranging from: Google searches for pages that have the range of numbers that you entered. Example: $400 to $600
Then narrow your results by ….
- Language: almost any language
- Region: where in the world?
- Last Update: choice of several time periods from one year to one day.
- Site or Domain: a specific website or a specific domain such as .gov or .edu or .org
- Term appearing: your choice of where on the page the search term is found. In the text or in the URL or …
- SafeSearch: Adult content is filtered out.
- File type: Specific file types such as .pdf or .htm or .jpg.
- Usage rights: Free to use or license required or ….
The all you have to do is click the Advanced Search Button and let Google get to work.
Hopefully your search has now been narrowed to where the results returned by Google are a manageable number. If not, you can always do a search within the returned results.
SEARCH WITHIN RESULTS
Go down the bottom of the 1st results page and click the Search Within Results link. Enter your new query in the search within the results Button. Try to make the new query more specific than the original.
CONCLUSIONS: we have covered a large part of the Google Advanced Search subject. Again the reminder that your best search results will come with lots of practice. Don’t stop now, go for it.
The next post will cover some of the most usable of the advanced search operators. Who knows, you might learn to like them.