There are more ways than ever to tweak Google so you can find what you’re looking for better, faster and more completely. Here are some Google tools and tips I use on a regular basis.
1. Advanced Search
This is a great starting point for your research. Here you easily narrow your search by time, language, country, domain – even specific file formats. This page also makes it easy tell Google to include or exclude certain words from your searches. (You can do the same thing with these symbols: +, -, ” “).
2. Google Suggest
This is handy when you have an idea what you’re looking for but you’re not entirely sure what key words to use. It’s like having a real smart friend sitting next to you saying “have you thought about this…”. I like this too because it shows how many returns a specific search will give you. Some searches have millions of returns. Others have only a few. This can help you decide which searches or keyword sets to choose.
3. Google News Alerts
Yes, these have been around awhile but they are very useful. I use them for ongoing research for companies, people or industries. A lot of people setup alerts for their own names, companies, brands, products – to stay in touch with what the Web is saying about them.
4. Google News Syndicated Feeds
Every search you do in Google News has an RSS (or syndicated) fee associated with it. By putting this feed in your RSS feed-reader (also called a news reader) you can keep up to date on what the news media, bloggers and public relations world is saying about any topic you want. It’s a fast and easy way to scan many news sources for key topics.
5. Time-based Search
This enables you to see what Google has indexed in the month, week or even the past 24 hours about any topic. It enables you to see your search results based on when they showed up in Google. This is helpful if what you’re looking for has changed over time. You access this from the Advanced Search page.
6. Alternate Views
These are great when you are looking for people, places, events or companies. You can view your search results in terms of locations, historical time-lines, images and more. The time-line and location views are most useful to help you see your search results in different ways.
7. Custom Search
Google allows you to specify a set of websites to search. This helps you search websites you know are relevant to your search yet leave out all the spam and other irrelevant listing that come with general searches. This is especially useful if you are searching for information withing a specific industry or company. Just enter the websites you want to search and Google Custom Search looks only in those.
It wasn’t too many years ago a search engine just did simple searches. Now, with the creativity and innovation from companies like Google, we’re able to look at more information in more ways than ever before. Google is now a powerful research tool – and it’s free! Be sure to explore how Google can help you acquire the information you need to grow your business.