3 simple tips to sharpen your Google search skills

Google search tips

For many of us, our relationship with Google could best be described as “complicated.”

It gives us a wealth of information and provides us with a huge list of useful services, but we might also feel, rightfully I suspect, that it’s a little too dominant in some areas. But that’s not the topic here today. Today I want to help you search more efficiently.

When you do a plain Google search, you often get more results than you can mentally process, so let’s look at three simple ways to enhance our searches on Google so we can drill down to the relevant information we’re really after.

When I did a standard, plain search on Google for social media marketing I got 274 million results. Even though Google tries to give you the “best” results first, it’s possible that what I want to see is buried down a couple of hundred pages.


The first thing I did was narrow it down to social media marketing on just my website. You do this by putting site:URL in the search box as illustrated below. We call this an “operator.”



That narrowed my search results down to 1,280. Using the site operator is very handy. If you want to see what a competitor is saying about a certain topic, you can focus right down on it.

However, I can focus this even more sharply. My last search returned results where the three words (social media marketing) could be anywhere on the page. For example, it would find a sentence like, “Social studies majors who have taken media classes at Harvard can make excellent marketing professionals.”

That’s not what I’m looking for.

To get even better results, put the exact phrase you want to find in quotation marks. When you do that Google will ignore all the times when the words are spread out in the article. Here’s how that worked for me:


Now I’m down to fewer than 500 search results, but let’s not stop there. Say I only wanted to find social media marketing articles that talked about Hootsuite, then I’d used the plus (+) operator and Google would give me a list of only the social media marketing articles where Hootsuite was mentioned. Here’s how that looks:


Just 13 search results. How we’ve got something!

Make using these operators a habit, your standard operating procedure. Your time is valuable and you’ll end up with better information.