Google Search has become such an invaluable resource for the human race that over 5.4 billion searches are conducted every single day.
Google itself is sometimes the subject of those searches.
It is such an amazing service, and yet, a lot of people have no clue of how it works.
What is Google Search?
Google Search, which is usually just referred to as Google, is a search engine that uses fully-automated software known as “web crawlers” that explore the world wide web to find websites they can add to their web index.
There have been a multitude of books written about Google, but I’m going to try and shorten that a fair bit so you can at least achieve a better understanding.
For years now, Google has been mapping hundreds of billions of pages of the world wide web and collecting it into an index. Google then takes these billions of pages, and ranks them.
Let’s say you want to design an ebook. You’re trying to create a side hustle for yourself to increase your cash flow.
So you go on Google Search and type in Free Design Ebook.
Now, Free, Design, and Ebook are search terms that show up a lot on the internet. There could be pages about the history of design, and even articles by professors and biologists whose last names happen to be Free. And of course, thousands and thousands of websites sell ebooks.
Randomly clicking through millions of links is extremely time consuming and not to mention near impossible.
This is where having something like Google Search comes in handy.
Google puts their ranking algorithms to work on your search terms.
First, Google’s algorithms try to understand what you’re looking for so they can be extra helpful even if you don’t exactly know what the right words to use are. They even check to see if your spelling is correct.
Google’s algorithms then sort through the millions of potential matches in their index and assemble a page for you.
The most relevant information makes it to the top of that page.
But How Do the Algorithms Decide who Makes it onto the First Page?
So now we have our results from our search for Free Design Ebook.
But how did it get there?
There are hundreds of factors that determine what search results make it to the top. But here are a few that Google has revealed to us:
- Does the page contain the search terms that were searched?
- Are the search terms in the title?
- Are the search terms in the image’s caption or alt tags?
- What is this page about? And how related is the page’s content to the search terms?
- Is this page a trustworthy link?
- Where is the person who searched these terms located?
It is often very important that Google’s algorithms look at the search location. Where exactly a search is occurring from.
For example, if your town has a popular design school, Google may look at your location and think you’re looking for information on a free design class.
Because Google cares so much about giving you accurate information (especially when it comes to search results relating to the news), it is also important to know when a page was uploaded.
Trustworthiness is a huge factor in search.
Not every website is trying to help you out.
The same way we have spam in our emails and random robocalls on our phones, there are a lot of sites out there trying to scam you. It can sometimes get very daunting to know that there are millions of scams and dangerous links designed to trap the unsuspecting web surfer.
It is very possible to encounter a website that has Free Design Ebook listed on it hundreds of times in order to attract you. It’s up to Google’s algorithms to flag that site, and not rank it in the search results.
Google spends a lot of time making sure that their algorithms are going to identify scam sites and flag them so their users have a pleasant and safe search experience.
Changes and Updates
Google went online in 1998. Since then, millions of people have found their search tool helpful.
But of course the internet is always changing and people come to Search for new things. Google claims that 1 in 7 searches are for something that’s never been searched by anyone before.
So they adapt, and they work on thousands of updates to Google Search every single year.
They determine which updates they should make based on asking people like us. They have search quality raters who look at samples of Search results side by side in order to give feedback about the information they find. They follow a list of guidelines to ensure their evaluations are not only consistent, but reliable.
The greatest aspect about Google Search is that while it is going through all of its algorithm checks, it still ends up delivering your search page back to you in less than a second.
It may have taken you 20 seconds to decide on Free Design Ebook, 5 seconds to get to google.com, and 2 seconds to type it into Google Search, but it only took Google 0.9 seconds to return your results.
Now that we’re a little more educated in Google Search theory, how about we get more practical, put our knowledge to the test, and go search something?
Whether you’re a YouTuber, an entrepreneur, a business person, or a student, you probably use Google Search so much, you’d benefit from some tips on how to use it more efficiently.
Whenever possible, use quotes for a Google search to reduce the amount of guesswork Search has to do. By putting your search parameters in quotes, you tell the search engine to look for the entire phrase.
For example, if you search for Free Design Ebook, Google Search will return page results that contain those words, but in any order.
If you search “Free Design Ebook”, Search will look for that phrase exactly as you typed it. This helps to find and sort specific information that may be buried under other content.
Use Search Tabs
Whenever you perform a search, you will see a number of tabs. Normally, you’ll see Web, Images, Videos, Books, News, and More. With these tabs, you can help define what kind of search you need to conduct. By utilizing search tabs effectively, you can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend searching.
Use a hyphen (minus sign)
When looking for ambiguous words, sometimes you may have trouble. For instance, Mustang. A Google search for Mustang results in both results for Ford’s automobile and for the horse. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell Google Search to ignore that word.
For example: Mustang -cars
This tells Search to look for mustangs but to remove any results that have the word “car” in it. It can be incredibly helpful when seeking information about something without finding information about something else. In this case, you’d remove Mustang cars in hopes of finding Mustang horses.
Use a colon
Sometimes you may want to search on a particular website.
For example: free resources site:dreamstojourneys.com.
This will search for free resources but only on dreamstojourneys.com. Search results from all other websites won’t be displayed.
Sometimes you may want to find a page that links to another page. If you wanted to see who cited a Dreams To Journeys blog post on their website, you would use this tip to find all the sites that link to it.
For example: link:dreamstojourneys.com.
Sometimes you may want to find websites that are similar to each other.
Say for some random reason you no longer like Google Search and want to find a similar site.
You’d type: related:google.com.
Sometimes you may be looking for a specific file type. This tip is particularly helpful by allowing you to bypass a long website search.
For example, if you search: digital marketing filetype:PDF, you’d be able to file PDF files about digital marketing right from the Google Search page.
Use an asterisk
Google search leaves a placeholder whenever you include an asterisk in a search term. This placeholder can be automatically filled by Google later. When you don’t remember the words to a song, this is a brilliant way to find them.
For example: “Let’s take a *smile* jump over the side”.
Google Search will search for that phrase, knowing that the asterisk can stand for any word.
Solve some math problems
Most people already know this but Google can do some simple and even difficult math for you.
For example: 5+5*5-5/5
It will even pop up a calculator for you to use.
Sometimes you want to search for multiple phrases or words without doing another search. Google Search will help narrow down your search so you can better find what you’re looking for.
For example: free or paid resources
This tip gets even more efficient when you combine it with the quote tip.
For example: “free resources” or “paid resources”
Use Two Dots
This tip relates to numbers. By using two dots and a number, you can tell Google Search that you’re looking for a range of numbers.
For example: Dreams To Journeys was created in 2018..2022.
Google Search will search for dates such as 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Use the website’s terminology
There are certainly moments in writing where you want to use your voice. This may not be advisable when using Google Search. This tip is especially useful when dealing with medical search terms.
For example: Instead of mouth hurts, use dental pain relief.
By using the language a medical personal or product would more likely use, you increase your chances of getting good search results.
Be Simple First, Then Complicated
A lot of people forget how intelligent Google Search is. You don’t have to type out extremely long sentences to Google. Start off with a word, then a phrase, then get to a sentence.
Even when you feel like you have to use the full sentence, you often don’t have to include tiny words like I, A, or The. Just stick to the important key terms.
Sometimes people will spend far too much time crafting their search, forgetting that the Google algorithms are so good, you can spell things wrong and Search will often still know what you were trying to say.
Define and Convert
This tip is very similar to the math tip where you’re about to conduct certain activities right in the Google Search area. Google is capable of being your dictionary when you need to define a word, and your conversion table when you need to turn Canadian Units into American units.
For example: $50 Canadian in USD.
Being able to convert measurements and currency without having to enter a website or pull out a calculator is just one of the many ways Google Search saves people time.
I rarely ever go to Google’s translate website to find a translation. Why would I when Google Search can do it for me? Enter a foreign word and a language of your choice into search to watch the translation happe.
For example: bonjour in English.
Sometimes if your keyword brings up multiple searches in another language, Google will forego opening up its translator in search, and open up its page translator instead.
Now that we’re more educated on these Google Search tips, let’s put the serious stuff aside for some fun.
With all those tools that Google provides us with, you’ll be surprised that they have even more.
Do a Barrel Roll in Google Search
Search for do a barrel roll in Google Search and watch your screen spin.
Search for askew in Google Search and get a clean and concise definition… while your screen tilts.
Google Search Easter Eggs
These are fun searches. Heads up, you’ll probably only understand some of them if you’re aware of the novel or tv show references.
- Search: answer to life, the universe, and everything
- Search: the loneliest number
- Search: anagram
- Search: recursion
- Search: festivus
This particular game is specifically for Google Chrome browser users.
In the Google Chrome browser where you would normally insert your URL, search for: chrome://dino/.
If you like old Google browser games, check these out.
And that’s it!
I hope these tips at least gave you some information on how to use Google Search more efficiently.
When it comes to free tools, Google Search really belongs at the top of the list. A lot of us take it for granted, but it truly is a gift to be able to have such a service for free. I hope you share these tips with others so they can use Google more efficiently.