Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Web search tactic: Use the Google Advanced (Helpful) Search screen
One of the most powerful and easy to use features of Google is the Advanced Search screen. Don’t be intimidated by the word Advanced - it actually should be called something friendlier like Helpful. When you fill in the blanks the top line shows how your search is being constructed when we follow the instructions to “Find web pages that have...”
For example, if we put the words public speaking into the box labeled the exact wording or phrase, then Google puts quotation marks around it.
If we use some combination of “all the words,” “one or more of the words,” or “But don’t have any of these unwanted words,” then Google builds a Boolean search for us.
Another powerful option lets us limit the File Type. For example, Acrobat portable document files (.pdf files) often are used for magazine articles or presentations that originally were either in PowerPoint or Keynote. We can also find files with the Microsoft Office formats for Word documents (.doc), Excel spreadsheets (.xls), and PowerPoint presentations (.ppt). Yet another option lets us search inside of a web site or domain. Google often does a more thorough job than the search feature built into a web site.
But wait, there’s even more! Additional features are revealed when we click on the blue line at the bottom of the screen.
One line lets us limit our search based on how recently a page was updated: a day, week, or month ago, etc. Two other very powerful options let us broaden our search based on specific pages.
The first lets us look for pages that are similar to a page we have found. Another lets us look for pages that link to a page we have found. This flips the search over, and changes our perspective, like an acrobat doing a somersault.