You might not know this but you are not really good at ‘googling’, take these tips

Leonard Sengere Avatar

We recently talked about how 93% of Zimbabweans use Google for their search needs. Google dominates the world over and that’s been the case since its introduction in 1997. You would think with such experience with Google we would be good at googling but we aren’t.

If you’re content with the way you search today, then good for you. If not let’s find out how to take our googling to the next level. It’s all about improving efficiency and effectiveness.

An aside: although we can get by with Google, it has to be remembered that search engines like Google only access an estimated 0.03% of the internet. That is a wild statistic. For as useful and omniscient Google feels, it only has access to about 0.03% of the internet. Just imagine what it would feel like if it could access even just 10%.

This means it doesn’t matter how good of a Googler you become, most of the information on the internet is inaccessible to you. Let that not discourage you though, you will do just fine with 0.03% of the internet.

Quotation marks

If you want to get exact results you have to put your search query in quotes. Your search query could be a phrase and you could still put it in quotation marks to get exact results.

You know how it is when you’re researching some obscure or specific stuff and you find a lot of results that do not really have anything to do with what you are searching for? Google may have found one of the words in your phrase on that website and it will just throw it at you. That’s what quotation marks help you avoid.

An example: if you type in “chicken inn fc” you will only get football results, not news about the chicken joint.

Filetype

Sometimes you know you once came across a document that had what you’re looking for. You don’t have to wade through all types of search results. Tell Google you only want results that have PDFs for example.

An example: type in javascript tutorial filetype:pdf

Exclude a term from results

There are only so many words out there and sometimes different entities can have the same name but you can filter that out when you search.

For example, if you want to find something out about Chicken Inn, the chicken outlet, at a time when Chicken Inn Football Club has some interesting news, you might find a lot of football news you have no use for in the search results.

Use a dash (otherwise known as the minus symbol) to exclude a term.

An example: Chicken Inn-fc you won’t get any results with the fc (football club) in them.

Using ~ to get synonyms

Let’s say you want to find guitar classes and you type in guitar classes you may miss out on other results in the form of guitar lessons or guitar coaching. So use the approximation symbol to get those ‘synonyms’ in the search results.

An example: guitar ~classes

Time periods

If you want to search within two number ranges you use two full-stops.

An example: hip hop music 1995..2005

If you want the results you get to have been published in a certain time period, this is how you go about it.

For results after a certain date use AFTER. An example: Python tutorials AFTER:2018

For results before a certain date. An example: Zanu Ndonga BEFORE:2012

Related websites

Ever find a site that caters to your particular interests and you want to discover more websites like it? You do that with a ‘related‘ search.

An example: related:newscientist.com

This will bring up all websites that are similar to New Scientist.

Specific locations

You can filter search results to only get results from a particular location. This is useful when you are dealing with a search term that yields results from all over the world when you are only interested in one location.

An example: Nelson Mandela location:zimbabwe

The wildcard *

If you have forgotten the particular phrase you want, the * can bail you out. Google treats the asterisk * as a placeholder for one or more words. Let’s say you are looking for The Purpose Drive Life but only remember that the book has ‘life’ in the title, but not anything else.

You type in: the * life book and you will get results like ‘The Book of Life’, ‘The Game of Life’ and you will see The Purpose Driven Life on that list.

That’s it for now

If you really want to get into the weeds you could always use Google Advanced Search.

Utilise these tips to become a pro-Googler. If you have more tips, share them in the comments section below.

Also read:

10 online safety tips for parents with kids & teens on Facebook

Google to add more context to search results in a bid to fight fake news

Let’s talk about how ChatGPT and friends could kill blogs and the internet as we know it

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26 comments

  1. Joshua

    Okay … Kudzidza hakuperi … Waita basa

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Hakuperi shuwa.

    2. Shep

      Thanks a lot

  2. JOHN. d

    Hello TZ Community, this is rather [OFF TOPIC], but
    Where do I obtain those weight gain pills & what are they called. Opinions on alternatives are also welcome.
    //CG;OD
    Can’t Google;
    Out of Data.
    //I might have just coined this : )

    1. 👽

      Tsvaga ma ARV unosimba within 6 weeks kunge broiler 🐔

      1. Leonard Sengere

        😂🤣 You’re out of order comrade.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      CG;OD 🤣🤣. I wouldn’t know about those pills but I know people love their protein shakes.

  3. 👽

    Thanx fir the tips…but the honest truth googling in zim especially ma growth points edu atiri aya its very hard..marwadzo kupinda pa internet.. the 2 mno (yes 2) available are only after highly populated cities and towns.we are stuck on 2g 24/7 potraz was supposed to take care of the rest of us but i bet you the money from the universal fund is being funneled into zanupf election campaign and no one will even blick an eye about it..im sick and tired of slow internet 😡😡👿 potraz lied kuti vakauya vakaisa booster kuno they just came and cleared the ground, put 4 concrete slabs on the ground and left.to my surprise i heard pa news vachiti vakaisa booster kuno.i wish i could upload pics here and just show the the supposed 4g booster

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I feel you about the MNOs focusing on big cities. However, even in the cities, some neighbourhoods get terrible service whilst some don’t know what we’re complaining about. I regularly get the ridiculous 2G (EDGE) in Mabelreign, Harare.
      About the booster, that happens a lot. We have to expose it though any time we have proof that people are being lied to. Can you please get in touch at tips@techzim.co.zw and we can pick it up from there.

  4. FG

    You forgot this tip, adding “site:Reddit.com” to ensure you get answers written by actual human beings

    1. Anonymous

      that’s basically how i search for stuff. It weeds out all the stupid blogs

  5. Ted Farai Mandoreba

    After your search word you type ALT to get alternatives like CORELDRAW ALT. You get alternatives

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Nice one. 👏🏾

      1. Antman

        Totally helpful

      2. Czar

        Thanks for the tip, I think you should add this feature on your website, I need to pin this one

  6. Greg

    Oh Leonard, you now live in the big H? Welcome, welcome. I thought you were a Kadoma Die Hard. Its true about the network. My girl lives in Hatcliff and her network is shi*tiest of sh*t. I on the other hand live in Avondale and my network is great. I’m on Econet by the way👌☺️

  7. Leonard Sengere

    I tried to be a die hard but Zimbabwe remains Harare-centric I had to come back to the city.
    Sucks that some just won the good neighbourhood lottery and get proper 4G whilst some of us just a few kilometers away are in the Stone Age.

    1. Rant and Roll

      Quick question. Any idea why one line will consistently under perform compared to another on the same network, in the exact same phones, in the same locations with the same bundles?
      I just had my bundle expire because the line will constantly default to edge while the other line is happy to be at 3g and above! Econet won’t say anything beyond the usual DIY fixes and maybe escalating my ticket to ‘the back office’, which does nothing!

  8. I will Getty these Images damnit!

    If learning the shortcuts is rough on your brain cells like it is on mine, you can use the ‘Advanced Search’ under settings (on the desktop version). You can really go to town on how granular you want your search parameters to be. Why do I know this mostly useless life hack? Because back when Google decided to mess with graphic designers all over the world by making image search less useful, the intrepid amongst us found that the functionality was now hidden in a menu. Throw in learning how to edit an image URL so you can open the full res image that image search promised you and you’ll be the resident Google-fu master in no time!

  9. Unknown

    Very informative, thank you for this.

  10. 2023

    Educational

    1. Comfort

      Thank you learned something there …

  11. 2023-30

    Educational & very informative

  12. Zambezi

    Am still wondering about those youths who didn’t register to vote, whom are they waiting for

  13. Zambezi

    Am still wondering about those youths who didn’t register to vote, whom are they waiting for,? Can someone tell me who to vote for in this coming general Erection, and why!

  14. Brendon Bwanali

    I can literally say adding file extensions to your search is lit ,does wonders especially when you are aiming for downloads

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