How to Use Google Effectively

As a college student on the web, you will most likely rely on Google or a similar search engine to help you find answers to all of your class assignments. This is hard for some people to do because they don’t know how to properly search for the information they need. I work in search engine optimization, which means that I spend my days trying to help websites make their information more search engine friendly. As a result of that work, I now have an understanding of how Google works from the other side. Now I want to share some tips with you that I have learned over the years so you can potentially use a search engine better in the future. Read on to see how you can get Google to work for you.

Searching for Keywords, Not Sentences

A lot of people think that throwing large statements into a search engine will bring them more accurate results, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes filler words in a sentence can cause a search engine to get distracted, just like you would be if someone started to shove a whole bunch of information into your brain at one time. Rather than searching for “Who discovered America in 1492?” you could search for “America 1492.” Chances are you would get the exact result you need from the second option, even if it has fewer words. If you don’t find exactly what you are looking for from the start, you can add more words to refine your search a bit.


Google is fueled by keywords, so you have to think about the most important search terms to look for, rather than looking for a whole question. You don’t have to use proper grammar in your search because that is not going to influence your results. “Homework help Germany” is going to come up with more accurate results than “How to get homework help in Germany.” Test this out a few times and see for yourself. You may be surprised by how much better your results are when you look for keywords instead.

Using Quotation Marks

If you want to find a specific term that you don’t want Google to break apart, you need to put that term in quotation marks. This is important to do with names because it ensures that you will pull up a first and last name together. I actually Google my own name a lot because I want to see what random results pull up for it, but I can never find anything without the quotation marks. I see information about my first name and information about my last name, but not the two of them together. With some simple “quotation marks,” I can change my results in an instant.


Try Different Versions of Words

If you can’t find something by looking up one set of keywords, you may want to replace a few of those words with their synonyms. Let’s say that you want to look up information about going to school online. You could look up distance learning, online schools, online colleges, online universities, web based colleges, internet degree programs, and anything else in between. You can use a thesaurus if you can’t think of a replacement word on your own, but you should be able to come up with a few variations to test out. It just takes one word to lead you to the perfect resource you are looking for. Try out a few different options so you can use Google to the best of your abilities.

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