Become a Power Searcher Thanks to a Few Simple Tips
When in doubt, Google it. Mastering online hunts brings information to your fingertips in a fraction of a second by using the keys to power searches.
James L Katzaman
Google is great, but others apps offer ways to find reliable facts
When in doubt, Google it. Mastering online hunts brings unimaginable information to your fingertips in a fraction of a second — assuming you know the keys to power searches.
That is a fundamental part of the job for social media managers and college students alike, as Carol Stephen and Luke Smith will attest.
Stephen wrote “21 Ways to Total Social Media Engagement: That Will Make You Look Like a Pro.” Many of her tips for blogging and other communication came from personal experience as well as close relationships with search engines.
At the University of Memphis, Smith is working on his bachelor’s degree in public relations, which places utmost importance on getting facts right.
“As a student I’ve learned the importance of search terms,” he said. “Thinking carefully is crucial.”
Smith and Stephen talked about how to maximize power searching on Google and beyond.
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When you really want to find something on the internet, the search might be solo or a collaboration.
“I ask fellow classmates, professors or library resources for help when wanting to find something online,” Smith said. “Usually, I receive valuable guidance and direction.”
Stephen found the benefits of a child leading the way.
“My 13-year-old stepson has taught me plenty about the art of searching,” she said. “I learn from many people all the time, even from Google itself.”
Google isn’t the only game in town. There are many search choices, including DuckDuckGo.
“I use that,” Smith said. “As an i0S user, I have set DuckDuckGo to be the default search engine in Safari. DuckDuckGo is downloadable on the app store.”
Searching for Search
Besides DuckDuckGo, Stephen taps into Pinterest, Google Scholar and many other applications.
“If you search on the word ‘search,’ it’s amazing what you’ll find,” she said.
Visual searches open another realm of possibilities. Among them, Smith uses Amazon Style Snap, Google Lens and Snapchat Camera Search.
“Visual searches are good on Pinterest — better if you have an account yourself — but Google itself now has a pretty good visual search,’’ Stephen said. “Plus, you can search for images on Twitter.
“Pinterest is more of a search engine than a social media site,” she said. “It’s great for visual searches.”
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In today’s world, fake news has become an occupational hazard.
“While searching, I seek various sources and perspective diversity,” Smith said. “I review clickbait headlines and judge for deceptiveness.
“Reading more than one source is necessary,” he said. “Turning to other professionals is also a great tactic.”
Just because something is on the internet does not mean it’s true.
“Checking veracity is a must when processing information in a public domain,” Smith said. “Also, supporting your position or view should definitely be fact-based.”
Amid questionable information, finding a trusted expert is a relief.
“My favorite source of news on the pandemic is Dr. John Campbell,” Stephen said. “He even fact checked the fact checkers, which I found hilarious.
“I follow him on YouTube where he has three to four videos per week, none of them short,” she said. “They’re usually 20 to 30 minutes or more and well researched.”
Finding a Way Out
Discovering that outlet was especially welcome after the world closed in.
“I’ve been watching John Campbell’s videos since March 2020 when we were locked down,” Stephen said. “He does a lot of research, has amazing videos and is such a down-to-earth guy, too.
“I find listening to those videos soothing,” she said. “There was — and still is — so much fake news around the pandemic. Hearing about science and research is helpful.”
Reverse image search on Google is essential for attributing an image to its original creator.
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“While looking for a specific artist for a friend, Google’s reverse image search came up with the result within a couple of minutes,” Stephen said.
“Google ‘Reverse Image Search,’ and you’ll find it,” she said. “Upload a picture, and you’ll see images — sometimes similar ones, but often the original will appear.”
Several places are good to search for free images to use with a website or article.
“I enjoy searching for free images on Unsplash,” Smith said. “Uniquely, Unsplash has its own license and allows use across multiple platforms. I never have to worry about copyrights.”
Stephen has her own favorite go-to place.
“Pixabay is a great source for free images,” she said. “Try to use a one-word adjacent or related search term for the best results.
“Did you know you can search images right on Twitter?” Stephen asked. “In the search bar, type in your term such as dogs. Then then choose ‘Photos.’”
Power of the Colon
A hunting pro tip is to use a colon within Google search to drill down into a website.
“I often use a colon within Google search to get into scholarly websites and articles,” Smith said. “Google’s site search function helps find necessary information for educational purposes.
“Most people are unaware of the : use in searches,” he said. “Knowing this tip can be very helpful.”
Stephen gave an example of using a colon in a Google search. Search for the Homeless Garden Project store on their site as follows: store: homelessgardenproject.org
With proper care and feeding, apps will perform even greater searches.
“I find that apps and platforms get better as you rate them and use them,” Stephen said. “If I rate a movie or show I like on Netflix, I’ll get more — and better — recommendations.
“The flip side is that what we gain in convenience we lose in privacy,” she said.
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Besides looking for other information, people might be just as interested in finding you.
“People can search for keywords such as Luke Smith, speaker or CEO,” Smith said. “My personal brand is listed on social media outlets — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter — and Google My Business.
“LinkedIn is a great platform for personal branding,” he said. “I’ve created an account for business growth and connections.”
Stephen has found that Google Search Central has articles on these kinds of searches.
Not all foraging is fruitful.
“What I can’t find is generally not on the internet — like an old business from 30 or 40 years ago,” Stephen said. “That takes more research.
“Fortunately, many younger people are excellent researchers,” she said. “I can learn from them and vice versa.”
About The Author
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
James L Katzaman
Jim Katzaman is a charter member of the Tealfeed Creators' program, focusing on marketing and its benefits for companies and consumers. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as subscribing here on Tealfeed.