The Internet is full of valuable information and is an infinite source of knowledge. However, a large amount of information available means that, on many occasions, we do not know how to easily differentiate which is the most reliable and of the highest quality. Knowing how to search for information on the Internet is a digital skill that allows us to know how to filter the data to find what we are really interested in and use a series of tricks to make our search fruitful.
If you want to learn how to find what you are looking for on the Internet successfully, read on.
Tricks to search for information on the Internet with Google:
Google is undoubtedly the most used search engine in the world with about 90% of the market, according to Statista data. Therefore, we give you some tricks to learn how to search for information on the Internet through Google effectively:
Use of filters. When you search on Google, at the top of the page (just below the search engine), there are a series of filters that you can use depending on the type of content you want to find:
Maps (if you are interested in finding the address of a place).
Advanced search. Next to the previous filters, a drawing of a wheel (next to your Google profile picture) is called “Settings”. If you click on it, you will see the option “advanced search”, which gives us the option to filter by:
Region. Only pages published in a particular part of the world will appear.
Last updated. Searches for pages updated in the specified time period.
Site or domain. You can search for a specific site or by domain type (i.e. .com, .es, .org, etc.).
The page where you want the terms you searched for to appear (title, web address, throughout the page…).
By file type.
According to usage rights, search for pages that you can use freely.
Symbol system. There are several symbols that you can use in Google searches to narrow the results:
Search for an exact phrase. By typing a word or phrase in quotation marks (“”), the search engine will show only results from pages where the phrase is written in the same order. For example, if you search for “online courses digital skills,” you will not get results for “online courses digital skills”, which can lead to exciting content being left out of the search. Therefore, only use quotation marks when searching for something particular such as a literary quotation.
Exclude a word. If you want to remove unwanted results from a search you should use a hyphen (-) before the word. For example, if you search for “The Wizard of Oz” and you want to get only results about the movie and not the book you should write it like this: “The Wizard of Oz-book”.
Find results that contain one term or another. If you want to include possible synonyms to help you increase the results of interest in your search, you should include the word “OR” between the two terms. For example, if you are interested in a marathon, search for “marathon OR race”.
Search on a specific page. If you access a web page without a search engine, you can use the command “`[site:]” to search for specific content within it. For example, if you type in Google “[site: wikipedia.org programming], you will see all the pages of our website that contain the word programming.
Unknown term. If you are looking for, for example, a proverb and you don’t remember exactly how it was, you can use an asterisk (*) instead of the word you don’t know. In that case, you would search for “Better * in hand than a hundred in flight”.
Define words. Google searches can also be used to look up definitions. If you add “define:” to the beginning of the search, you will get the meaning of the word you are interested in.
Do mathematical operations. With Google, you can also add, subtract, multiply and divide without accessing a calculator. Just type the mathematical operation you want to solve, along with its symbol, for example, 586+722.
In addition to these tricks, you must take into account some considerations regarding Google searches:
- It is not case-sensitive. You will get the same search results by typing “Buy board game Alias” as “buy board game alias”.
- Spelling mistakes are not taken into account either. Google uses its spell checker to search for information even if it is misspelled.
- Punctuation marks and special characters (@, #, etc.) do not influence searches either.
Tips for finding quality information:
Once you have done your search on the Internet, it is important to pay attention to a series of aspects to know if the information found is reliable:
Place where it is published. You should pay close attention to the media you select to consult the information. Instead of websites without reputation, prioritize and focus your attention on official sources such as universities, research centers, public organizations, and other resources with high authority. This item is especially essential if you’re a student or a writing helper and need to write a writing paper or an essay. You should use only trusted and reliable sources of information from the Internet for it.
Authorship. Check who signs the information you are reading if it is someone professional and with the necessary reputation and accreditation to speak with authority on a particular topic.
Bibliography. Knowing where the information comes from, that is, knowing the primary source of the knowledge, is another guarantee to discern if the content is reliable and appropriate.
Date of publication. It is also important to know when the information consulted was written since the constant updating shows that it is careful, renewed, and valuable content.
If you use these tips, you will see how they improve and optimize how you search for information on the Internet.