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Ten Tips for Smarter Google Searches

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Most people use Google in a very inefficient and often ineffective manner. If all you do is enter a few keywords and click the search button, you're one of those users who don't get as much out of Google as you could. In this article, Google expert Michael Miller shows you how to search smarter — and more effectively.

Google is a very sophisticated search engine, but most users don’t use its full power. The average user enters a keyword or two into Google’s search box, clicks the Search button, and waits for Google to display the first page of search results. This is a rather brute-force method of searching, unfortunately, and typically generates a ton of mostly unwanted results.

There is a better way to search—one that generates a smaller, more targeted list of results. All you have to do is implement a few simple tips, and you’ll soon be generating more and better Google search results.

Tip #1: Use the Correct Methodology

Whether you’re conducting a basic or advanced Google search, there is a certain methodology you should employ. Follow the proper method and you’ll get very targeted results; ignore this advice and you’ll either get a ton of irrelevant results or a dearth of relevant ones.

While there are many different (and equally valid) approaches to web searching, I guarantee that this particular approach will generate excellent results. It’s a six-step process that looks like this:

  1. Start by thinking about what you want to find. What words best describe the information or concept you’re looking for? What alternate words might you use instead? Are there any words that can be excluded from your search to better define your query?
  2. Construct your query. Use as many keywords as you need; the more the better. If at all possible, try to refine your search with the appropriate search operators—or, if your prefer, with the Advanced Search page.
  3. Click the Search button to perform the search.
  4. Evaluate the matches on the Search Results page. If the initial results are not to your liking, refine your query and search again—or refine your search by switching to a more appropriate search site.
  5. Select those matching pages that you wish to view and begin clicking through to those pages.
  6. Save the information that best meets your needs.

In other words, it pays to think before you search—and to continue to refine your search after you obtain the initial results. The extra effort is slight, and well worth it.

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