Top 5 tips for searching with Google*

Google offers access to an enormous wealth of information. Sometimes that information can be overwhelming and we need some help to narrow down our search. There are a number of ways you can reduce the number of results and hopefully return information which is relevant to what you need. Here are five top tips to help you find more relevant content through Google.

1. Search for a “specific term”
Put speech marks either side of a specific word or phrase to search for exactly that word or phrase. Many searches can return billions of results. To find what you’re looking for more quickly, use speech marks e.g. “search term”, and Google will include that exact word or combination of words in each page it returns, reducing the number of results.

2. Exclude a website
Use a hyphen to let Google know you don’t want a certain website to be included. For example, if you’d like to find out more about Facebook advertising but want to exclude the Facebook website, add to the end of your search.

3. Search a specific website
You can use Google as a search engine for one website by putting site: and then the name of the site after your search terms. For example, to search this website for the word digital, you could put into the search box: digital

4. Search articles published at a certain time


Webpages often don’t have information about when they were published so you could read something thinking it’s current and find out it’s actually ten years old. Under the search box on Google, there’s a tab called “Tools”. If you click on that and then open the “Any time” menu, you can search a specific time period and know when your results were published.

5. Try the Advanced Search


Under the search box, click on “Settings” and “Advanced Search”. This will give you a range of options for search with particular parameters, including the ones suggested above as well as others such as language, region and where your search terms appear on the page e.g. in the title, url etc. You can also search particular file types if you are trying to find a pdf or PowerPoint for example.


*These tips are specifically for Google but there are lots of other search engines out there to try. They offer different results and different benefits. On the DuckDuckGo search engine, for example, your search data doesn’t get saved so you won’t get followed around the web and shown adverts based on your search history. Ecosia also has no third party trackers, anonymises all searches within one week, and is very environmentally friendly – it runs on 100% renewable energy and uses its profits to plant trees.

Behind the yellow line

The world of digital is constantly in flux, always moving and evolving to develop more and different ways to engage people online. The people shaping these changes are never content to just sit back and watch their developments roll out; this isn’t the era of finalising a product and then selling it and watching as people enjoy it. As soon as the product is available, people in digital are on to the next thing, always looking for opportunities to develop, add to, take away, tailor, and adapt.

With the possibilities for testing in online environments, this makes sense. Why stand still when you can move forward?


We can only stand in the relative safety offered by being behind the yellow line for so long before we’ll miss the train. In digital, missing the train means missing our next opportunity to raise our profile.

Eventually, this will mean becoming obsolete and someone else stepping in to take our place, someone more adept at keeping up with the pace.

The great thing about digital is that new trains arrive every few seconds. There are almost limitless opportunities to increase our online presence; we just need to step forward and take a chance.