How to Google: Part 1 – The Basics


With just a click of a button, it is easy to access all sorts of data. However, finding relevant, accurate and current information on the internet can be difficult and confusing if you don’t know how to look properly. The key is to know the proper combination of keywords and phrases. Instead of just typing what comes to mind and browsing page after page of results, there are smarter ways to look for relevant information.

As Google is the most widely used internet search engine, these articles offer Google specific search tips to help you maximize your research.

How to read the search results
  1. Your keyword text – Where this appears in any of the lines it will be shown in bold.
  2. First line – The title of the webpage.
  3. Second line – A brief description or an excerpt taken from the webpage (this is called a snippet).
  4. Third line – This consists of two parts.
  • The URL or the address of the webpage.
  • A cached link or a link to an earlier version of the page (useful if the snippet shows text you can’t find on the current page)
The 3 Key Principals
  1. Keep it simple – Be exact, in looking for a particular product, place, movie title etc. A good idea is to start with what you already know and add to it what you want to find out e.g. iPhone Size
  2. Be specific – Google is more than likely going to find thousands upon thousands of results, so make sure they are relevant. If you’re after desktop wallpaper instead of typing “fish images” type “fish wallpaper”, that will automatically eliminate irrelevant results from your search.
  3. Use as few terms as possible to describe things –  Using many words will decrease the number of results, as Google tries to match each of the words you type. While fewer results might sound good, if you search results are being limited by unimportant words you might eliminate relevant pages.
General Guidelines of how Google Searches
  1. Google is NOT case sensitive – searching for words like “letters” is just the same as “LETters”.
  2. Every word matters – Generally Google searches for pages that include all of the words you typed, though it ignores stop words like “a”, “the” and “for”.
  3. Short words maybe be interpreted as acronyms – A search for “who” maybe taken to mean W.H.O, as in the World Health Organization
  4. Word order is important – A “dozen bakers” is a totally different search to a “bakers dozen”, so if one search doesn’t work, try reordering the words.
  5. Punctuation is usually ignored – Special characters such as @#$%^&*()=+[]\ are ignored, unless they form part of a popular search term like “C#” or “$100”. Additionally, the underscore symbol is also not ignored when it connects two words like “coffee_shop”.

The next article will examine how you can use Operators to control your results even more.

Watch out for part 2, coming soon.