Did you know there are about 3.5 billion searches on Google each day? Each one comes from people looking for information, whether that be for their dissertation, for clearing an argument, for tutorials, or for finding a local barbershop.
Although it helps us find more information than we can imagine, is Google making us stupid? Many believe that having information within reach is making people rather lazy.
It’s a nice perk, but not many know how to find the exact information they’re looking for. Read on to find out what makes them think Google is making people stupid and how you can be more knowledgeable in using it.
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
The internet promotes a new kind of reading, and behind it, a new kind of thinking. People would often find themselves uninterested in long content, like books and long-forms. When reading, they would only skim through rather than digest the whole content.
This phenomenon has some disadvantages, but it has advantages, as well. Our brains become wired to seek out the most important information and disregard those that aren’t relevant at all.
Still, it’s better if we make Google work for us than allow it to alter our thinking.
How to Make Google Work for You
There are a few tricks to getting accurate search results and that is by changing the way we search. Here’s how to do more effective browsing on the platform.
- Keep Your Keywords Simple But Make it Descriptive
Google excludes irrelevant words in your search term to make it more efficient. When you search for “how can I create a professional website for free,” Google will only take into account all the important words like “create,” “professional,” “website,” “free.”
This means it’s not important to use full sentences, but make sure you make it descriptive enough. A simple search for “dogs,” for example, would yield different results.
If you want to know more about caring for dogs, use the phrase “dog care.” If you’re interested in the different kind of breeds from Germany, use the phrase “dog breeds Germany.”
- Search for an Exact Phrase
If you’re looking for an exact phrase, though, put the whole phrase inside quotation marks. This forces Google to search for web pages containing that exact phrase. A search with “this senior care company” would then bring web pages containing that phrase with no omitted words.
This is useful for searching lyrics, book passages, and even sentences on journals. For example, you want to include a quote in your essay, but you’re not sure of the original source. A quick Google search using the quotation marks will help you with that.
- Use Placeholders in Your Search
If you’re not sure of the exact words but you know some of the words, you can let Google fill in the blanks instead. This is by using asterisks in place of the words you don’t know within the search term.
This means that if you’re not quite sure what name The Beatles mentioned and what the next word was, you can search for “Hey * don’t be *” on Google. It will know that it needs to fill in those asterisks to produce relevant results.
- Search Within a Website Using Google
We know how to search words on a web page, but what if we need to find a page within the website? We often come across sites that don’t have a search function. This means we’ll have to do manual searching to find the information we want.
You can use Google for that, though with the syntax “site:*website* *keywords*.” Google will then return results within that website. Note that there’s no space after the colon and there should be a single space between the website and the keywords.
If you want to search for photography topics on the Forbes website, for example, you can search on Google: site:forbes.com photography.
- Include or Exclude Some Words
If you hire professional digital marketers, they’ll also ask you for a list of negative keywords. These are words you don’t want to be associated with searches. You can force Google to include or exclude certain words. Use the + and – sign to filter your search results.
The search engine should display results based on all keywords, but sometimes, the results are omitting a crucial word or prase. If you put a + sign before the word with no space, though, you’ll only get results with that word.
If you want to exclude a word, you can use the – sign so Google doesn’t bring you results containing that word or phrase. If you want web pages about dogs but not containing information about huskies, for example, putting “dogs -husky” in the search box will exclude pages with that word.
- Search for Similar Websites
Did you like a certain website and want to find others like it? Use the following syntax: “related:*website*.” Google will then bring back a list of the homepages of similar websites.
Searching for similar websites to Forbes using this syntax would bring you back websites like Bloomberg, Time, and such. Make sure not to put a space after the colon as Google will treat it as a regular search term.
- Search for Multiple Keywords
We’ve mentioned above that Google filters out words like “and,” “the,” “a,” and such to keep the process simple. However, you can use the word “or” to let Google search for 2 keywords at once.
Try searching for “how to use google search” or “how to create a website.” Note that the search engine will bring back mixed results as it included the results of both phrases.
- Use the Google Search Tabs to Filter Results
Google’s tabs are handy at filtering what kind of results you’re looking for. If you want images, go to the Images tab; if you want news, go to the News tab. Each has its own search tab, allowing you to search what it is you need in whichever category.
Getting Better at Google Search
Many people wonder, “is Google making us stupid?” The answer is not quite, as it enriches us with the information we need. You only have to know how to look for it.
Don’t stop here! We’ve got more guides to help you. To further increase your knowledge about Google, check this out about the 10 URLs you should know.