Google Search Tips for Illustrators

Below are some tips and techniques on how to optimise your search and find what you are looking for in Google and Google Images. In another post I’ll discuss the ‘Advanced Search’ for Google Images, but today I’m just going to focus on optimising your search terms. A lot of the examples below demonstrate in Google Search, but you can use the same techniques in Google Images.

Before getting into some advanced search techniques, remember that Google pulls up results using the keywords you searched for. So the first thing to think about is how the website you are looking for is going to be categorised. For example, if you have a headache, instead of searching for ‘my head hurts‘ rather search ‘how to fix a headache‘ or ‘headache relief‘ as that is probably the title of the article you are looking for. Another example is instead of searching for ‘I have a flat tire‘, search for ‘how to repair a flat tire‘.

Remember to also use only the important words and simplify. For example, instead of ‘where can I find a Chinese restaurant that delivers to Cape Town‘ try ‘Chinese restaurants deliveries Cape Town.’

For those who are unsure of where to find Google Images, it is at the top right of your screen in Google.

Google Tips for Illustrators

Note: observe the spaces in the below phrases as they play an important role in Google. For example, in the Minus/Dash example below there is no space between the dash and the keyword.

Quotation Marks

If you have a phrase that you are searching for example you can only remember one line of a song, but not the rest of the lyrics, artist or song title, then add quotation marks around the phrase. This will make Google search for that key phrase as a group, in that sequence.

Example of search:
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire”

Google Tips for Illustrators

Asterisks

Using the example above, perhaps you know only the bits of a song and not a full line. This is where using asterisks is useful in google. You can place the asterisks anywhere that you don’t know the word.

Example of search:
“I got the eye of * through the *”

Google Tips for Illustrators

Minus/Dash symbol

If you are looking for something that has a double meaning, you can remove unwanted searches. Perhaps you are researching Jaguar but your search results keep bringing up the car. In this instance you can use the minus/dash symbol to remove the unwanted results.

Google Tips for Illustrators

In this instance you can use the minus/dash symbol to remove the unwanted results.

Example of search:
Jaguar –car

Plus Sign

We can take the above example one step further. You can use minus to remove specific keywords, but you can also use + to add keywords. So if we take away car and add cat, we should get the results we want.

Example of search:
Jaguar –car +cat

Google Tips for Illustrators

Specific Sites

If you are searching for articles or content but you want searches only from a specific website, then use your keyword and add ‘site:’ to the end with the URL. For example, perhaps you would like to find out about the rugby or soccer over the weekend. Searching for ‘Sharks’ or ‘Bulls’ might bring up a list of farm animals and marine animal information. Add the term ‘site’ and the URL to the end to refine your search.

Example of search:
Sharks site:supersport.com

Related Sites

If you already know of one website that has the type of information you are looking for, but you would like to find similar websites, then use the term ‘related’ in your search

Example of a search:
related:www.mrsbeckerling.co.za

There are a range of simple terms that you can also use to refine your search. For example, if you are looking for a specific PDF on the web, you could type in your keyword followed by ‘filetype:pdf’ or if it is an image ‘filetype:jpg’. If you are unsure of the definition of a word, then use the term ‘Define’ and then the word to get the definition. The more you use Google the better idea you will have of the best way to use it. There are also lots of tips on ‘how to search’ on the web if you ever need any assistance.

Hopefully through these tips and techniques, you’ll not only find the information you need in a shorter amount of time and refine your searches better, but also you will be able to reference other sites than Wikipedia in your next project.

Last thing to remember – Google has a lot of Easter Eggs so beware! Next time you are on google, type zerg rush to see what happens.

Google Tips for Illustrators

I hate it when voldemort steals my shampoo without asking
I hate it when voldemort steals my shampoo without asking

I will discuss how to use the advanced Search in Images in another post. Have you got any other Search Term Tips useful for Illustrators? Or know of any Easter eggs?