In this digital error most discussions end up in a Google search when participants totally disagree and one of them will even throw a ‘Googling’ challenge. Somehow the search engine is saving grace when it comes to acquiring any kind of information.
However, “googling” can be a nightmare when results hit thousands yet none of those has what you mean to search. This is because the search engine has special operators that scan every search query for special commands and the very commands keyed in by the user determine results.
Compared to Yahoo and Bing, Google is the smartest of all the search engines but even with this advantage for users, optimization is key and so is understanding how symbols work on the engine.
(-) Minus sign
As the symbol suggests, it is used to remove words from the google search results. As many users may think, the sign does not help in connecting the word searched to more information, it applies when you want to filter information from your search. Eg “Safaricom-bundles” the google search results will include all information on Safaricom and exclude any information on bundles. If you want to find out about Toyota cars with the exclusion of Prado, the search will be Toyota-Prado.
(+) plus sign
The addition sign sends a command to Google asking for broader results with all words on the search engine included. This is when the user is specific and wants all words considered while giving results. Old + Blue + Mitsubishi unlike “old blue Mitsubishi” the first search will be specific to the request and filter any other Mitsubishi cars that are not old or blue.
The # and @ symbols
These two signs sort of play for the same team when it comes to searches. They will direct the user to social media results captured by Google either in an article or as is on social media posts. For example, #Wilkinsthecon shows results in form of tweets, Tv interviews, and articles on the Wilkins the con. The @ symbol on the other hand assists in finding specific social media accounts without necessarily having to the social media platform.
( _ ) Underscore sign
Google treats the underscore sign as a word joiner unlike the hyphen or subtract sign used as a separator. For example, Black_Berry is assumed to be BlackBerry by the search engine.
(“ ”) Double Quote
The symbol emphasises on Google showing results of the exact words or phrase entered. For example, “donkey and carrot” gives the user all information under the specific phrase entered on the search engine. Google also uses the phrase to find synonyms that might be meaningful to the search.
(~) Tilde symbol and the (..)
Using the tilde symbol instructs Google to find a similar word to the one entered on the engine. For example, giving ~ tutorial also brings up results such as guide, manual and reference. The double dots, on the other hand, is a ‘range’ determiner for example if you are looking to buy a car between $6000 and $8000, the double dots come in handy in dictating the range $6000..$8000. Results will only show cars within the prices.