Searching with Google

Now that everyone knows to search with Google, everyone must learn some of the techniques that will allow you to get the results you want. Before I get into any details about Google in particular, there are some general rules to outline. First, you need to use keywords, not sentences. I have seen a lot of people type something like "where can i find the information on a lamborghini diablo?" (no quotes, you'll see why in a minute.) Even sites like Ask.com, which ask you to type a question, use only keywords to search, not the whole search phrase. That's a good thing, too. Those little, very common words would tend to overwhelm any real keywords, so you would probably have to sift through a lot more mud to find gold. If you want to find something, get to the heart of it. Type "lamborghini diablo specifications", which is shorter and a whole lot more effective. If you want to refine your search to get more specific, take a quick look at the results for your first try. Find any additional keywords that might help you. If you are looking for acceleration of said car, for example, you might try adding "0-60" or "performance" to your earlier phrase.

You can do Google's Advanced Search, which has many ways to tweak your search. It is easy to use, and takes only a moment to learn. If you want to save some time, though, you should learn at least a few shortcuts. For example, if you are looking for a particular file type like .xls (Excel Spreadsheet, common for storing data sets), you can skip the advanced search. Just type in your search phrase, then "filetype:xls". It can save you time, and after you use it for a while you won't want to go back. You can do a very similar thing with sites. If you want to return only .edu domains, just add "site:.edu" (it works with .com, .org, .edu, and many others).

Most importantly, remember to use quotes! By default, most search engines search by keywords, not keyphrases. If you want an exact phrase, just enclose it in quotes. That tells Google you want that phrase, in that order, and is generally pretty effective at eliminating some of the extraneous results.

I don't want to make this too long, so I'll leave you with this. Check out Google's advanced search, and Google's Guide to maximize your capability.