Using advanced search techniques in Google will help you find information depending on what your researching. This is particularly true when doing private company or emerging/niche market research.
Below are some strategies you can use to more effectively use Google to find specific information.
1. Search for specific file types
You can limit Google searches to particular files such as PDF, PowerPoint, etc. This can be helpful when looking for reports, particularly by professional associations, organizations, and governments.
Type in Google your search terms + filetype:ppt. Example search: nanotechnology market filetype:pdf
2. Search for specific domains
You can also limit results to sites with specific domains, such as .org, .edu, .mil, or .gov.
Type in Google your search terms + site:.edu. Example search: nanotechnology market site:.gov
*Tip: Combine tips 1 and 2 for even more advanced searching. Example search: nanotechnology market filetype:pdf site:.gov
3. Search for other country's versions of Google
When you search Google.com, you are searching the U.S.'s version of Google. If you know the top-level country code domain for other countries, you can search their version of Google.com. Keep in mind that this will not necessarily change the language of the results you see, but will show you results Google thinks are more relevant to those in that country. This can be helpful when doing international research.
Example: Go to Google.de (Germany's version). Search for government privacy.
* Tip: You can also combine tips 2 and 3 to search for sites with a specific country's code. Example search: government privacy site:.co.uk
4. Utilize Google Scholar
Google Scholar allows you to search for primarily scholarly or academic articles. It pulls from various sources, including open access (freely available) online journals, journal publishers, and institutional repositories (where faculty, staff, and students can place their academic work online).
For more information, check out these Google Scholar Search Tips.
5. Learn how to develop effective keywords
Figuring out the best way to structure or word your search can be challenging. In general, follow these guidelines:
7. Learn more Advanced Google tips and tricks
Check out this infographic on more ways to use advanced Google search tricks.
Take a free online course offered by experts at Google to learn how to become a "power searcher."
OR: finds the specified search terms together or separately (gets more results)i.e.: apples or oranges
AND (+): requires that all search terms be present.
i.e.: cats and dogs
NOT(-): excludes that term from the results (narrows results)
i.e.: bush not president
~word: finds synonyms of the word
i.e.: dogs and ~canines
"Quotation marks" locate exact terms "inside the quotes"
i.e.: "British literature" or "special education"
Truncation and Wildcard(*, ?,#) searches for all variations of a word and alternate spellings, particularly in databases such as EBSCOhost
Truncation finds alternate endings of a word, i.e., child* = children, childhood, childlike, etc.
Wildcard ? replaces a single character in a word, i.e.: te?t = tent, test and text
Wildcard # searches for possible alternate spellings, i.e., colo#r = color or colour (American vs British spelling)
What are limits and why use them?
Limits are helpful in focusing your search and narrowing your results. Once you have done the initial search, you can use some limits to help narrow your results to a more manageable amount of information.