I am half way to becoming a Google Power Searcher. I just finished Class 3 and the  Mid-class assessment, which I got completely correct the first go round.

I know that I can find things by using Google as a search engine, but the light bulb has turned on and I’ve only taken the first three classes. I thought I was getting good results in my daily searches, but now realize that I have been doing a number of things wrong.

One of the first things I found that I was doing wrong had to deal with Boolean searches.

Don’t bother typing AND in your search queries. Google treats it like any other word

But OR in all caps actually works. OR is great for finding synonyms and increases your search results. Typing Olympics location 2008 OR 2012 will find more websites with more useful information.

Avoid using NOT if you want to exclude a search term. Instead, use the minus sign in front of the word. So, if you’re like me and you enjoy salsa and you’re looking for a new way to make it but don’t want salsa dancing in your results, type: [Salsa -dancing]

That will search for the word salsa on the web pages that do not have dancing. Note that there is no space between the word dancing and the hyphen.

Capitalization doesn’t matter

It’s as simple as that. It does not matter if you search [George Washington] or [george washington]

Word order matters

Understanding their meaning. Typing define space search term in google search will offer dictionary definitions. For example. Try two different searches. The typing [cat fish]. And then [fish cat].

Use quotes to search for phrases

Use quotation marks around “[any word]” to tell Google you want to see results that contain those exact words in that exact order.  If you don’t use quotes, Google will search for the words individually.

Find something on a page

Press Command + F when looking at any document or website to find a word or phrase on any webpage. All instance of the word are highlighted for you.

Specific website searching

Are you looking for results only from a specific website or type of websites? The search operator site: restricts your search to that particular website. Google search     [couch to 5K” site:runnersworld.com] and [couch to 5k”:.gov] to see this one in action.

In the first, your results will be “couch to 5k” from the Runners World website and the second are “couch to 5K” on government websites.

Find a particular type of file

Use Google to find PDF’s, Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft PowerPoint presenations and just about any other file type you can think of. Using the search operator filetype: and its 3-letter abbreviation, for example [cupcake toppers filetype:pdf]

These are just a few of the things from the first three classes. What are your favorite search tips?