If you’re ever attended a Know More! program or have read Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling, you know about the power of Boolean searches. Minus signs, quotation marks, searching for synonyms, searching for types of documents, searching within date ranges and within geographic regions, and many more options are available once you know how to look. The problem for most people is, who has time to remember all of those fancy techniques?
For most search engines, you don’t have to. Just click on the Advanced Search link offered on just about every search engine and let the engine do the work for you. You will usually find the Advanced Search link next to the main search button.
On the world’s most popular search engine, Google, the Advanced Search used to be prominently featured on the main page. Then Google removed it off of the main search page but it still could be found on the Google results page. Recently, however, the Advanced Search link disappeared altogether. Huh?
To access Google’s Advanced Search, first conduct a search. On the results page, you’ll see a gear icon, usually on the upper right corner. Click on it and choose “Advanced Search” from the pull-down menu. Once inside Google’s Advanced Search, you can easily conduct a search by entering words or phrases into the various search fields.
Click the + button to see all of the search options. Add or remove words and/or phrases from your searches. You can limit your results by file format (e.g., PowerPoint, Excel document, PDF file) and/or Web domain, specify geographic regions for your results, specify date ranges and more.
My favorite part of Google Advanced is as you type in words, you can watch Google automatically create the Boolean query. This is very helpful as you can watch as Google builds the advanced Boolean query in real time, making it easy to learn how to conduct more complex searches, which typically deliver more relevant results.
My promise to you: Use the Google Advanced Search for one week. Watch as Google creates the query and within a few days, you’ll have Boolean searching memorized. You’ll never search the same way again, now that you Know More!