Supercharge your searches

Googles search panel is a deceptively powerful tool; in fact, the most common problem is that it often returns too many results. Learn how to master the search panel in order to ensure that you always find exactly what you are looking for

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Google has grown well beyond its search engine origins, but this is still the thing that it is best known for by the general public. But, even if you’ve performed countless searches, chances are you don‘t really know what‘s going on behind the scenes. When you ask Google to perform a search, it scours all of the publicly accessible online documents and then builds a search results page from the matches. Each match is represented by a ‘snippet’ – a few lines of the page’s content, which feature your search term(s). Snippets allow you to see, at a glance, what a page is all about. Google Search owes a large part of its success to PageRank, a unique algorithm that’s used to rank pages based on your search query. However, Google has taken a proactive approach to enhancing the search experience, and has expanded its search offerings with new technology such as Search by Image, Voice Search and Knowledge Graph. Whenever you perform a search, there are some essentials to bear in mind. Firstly, searches aren’t case sensitive, which is one less thing to worry about. Also, Google doesn’t actually search for common words such as ‘I’ and ‘the’, even when you type them into the search bar. Along with these, and as a general rule, you should lay off the punctuation, as some punctuation marks double up as search commands, which can affect the accuracy of your results. Beyond these basics, you can limit your searches to particular websites, domains and file types, or use ‘search operators’ and Google’s Advanced Search page to craft a sophisticated set of search rules. Over the next few pages, you’ll learn how to do all of the above and find out how to get even more out of your Google searches.