Tidy Desktop, tidy mind
Blog >

Google is your friend…Or is it? Save time searching online with our 6 productivity tips!

How often do you say, “I’ll just Google it”?  

With 2.4 million searches each minute, Google is generally the first stop people make when they go online. In fact, the brand name has become synonymous with searching online in just the same way that many people say ‘Hoover’ in place of vacuum.

While Google is a super handy tool in business, as well as for personal use, it is still debatable how much time you really save (or even waste) searching and collecting information.  According to a study made by consulting firm McKinsey, employees spend an average of 1.8 hours each day using Google.  This adds up to 9.3 hours a week!

*SHOCKING FACT – That’s more than one working day per week searching Google.

As more web results are added to the internet each day, this could easily become a productivity sinkhole.

So, what IS the solution? Stop using Google? Not necessarily, however, by learning how to search more efficiently you can eliminate a lot of time wasting and free up resources for better use in your small business.

Keep reading, we have 6 time-saving tips to help you and your staff narrow down your search results and get to that information faster.

1. Searching a Specific Website

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.google.com/

Sometimes you need to find information on a specific website. For example, you might need to locate a government statistic that you know is out there but can’t seem to bring up on a general search.

You can use Google to search keywords on a specific website by using the “site” function.

In the search bar use the following:  site:(site URL) (keyword)

This will bring up search results only for that one specific URL.

2. Looking for Document Types Using “filetype”

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.google.com/

If you’ve just been tasked with coming up with a presentation on sustainable energy, it can be helpful to see what other people have done on the same subject.

Searching websites can give you a lot of details to sift through but searching for another PowerPoint presentation can provide you with even more insight into how others have distilled that information down into a presentation.

Google has a search function that allows you to search on a file type, so instead of webpages showing up in your results, files of the file type you searched will appear.

To use this function, type in the following: filetype:(type) (keyword)

In the case of wanting to find a PowerPoint on sustainable energy, you could use the following in the search bar: filetype:ppt sustainable energy.

All the results will be PPT presentations.

You can also use this function for other file types, such as:

  • DOC
  • PDF
  • XLS or XLSX
  • SVG
  • and more

3. Using the “tools” Link to Narrow Down the Time Frame

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.google.com/

You can choose from pre-set timeframes, like past hour or past year, or you can set a custom date range for your results.

4. Filtering Out Irrelevant Results by Using the Negative Keyword Function

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.google.com/

Non-relevant results are one of the main timewasters of online searching. You have to page through results that have nothing to do with what you really want to find, just because they use a related keyword.

For example, say you were searching for glasses in your search results and you keep getting pages related to drinking glasses rather than optical glasses. You could eliminate those irrelevant results by using the negative keyword function.

Just type: (keyword) -(keyword)

Basically, you are just putting a minus sign in front of a keyword that you want to exclude from your search. In the example above, you could type: glasses -wineglasses -drinkingglasses.

5. Finding Similar Websites Using “related"

When you’re researching a topic online, it’s often helpful to find similar websites to the one you are viewing. Seeing related sites can also be used if you’re trying to find a specific product or service online and want to do some comparison shopping.

Google can provide you with a list of related websites when you use the “related” function.

In your search bar, type the following: related:https://website.com

One more way that you can leverage this search tip is to look for competitors by entering your own website URL in the search.

6. Finding Flight Information Without Leaving Google

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.google.com/

When you need to access flight information, you’re often on the go. Either getting ready to head to the airport or waiting for someone to arrive. Having to load multiple site pages in your browser can take valuable time. Instead, get your flight results directly from Google.

Just type in the flight number and the name of the airline, and you’ll get a listing of flight information without having to click to another page. You can even tab to choose flight info for that same flight on different days.


We hope you found this article useful. Our Managed IT Service is designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses in the North West of England, allowing them to focus on what they do best. So, if you run a small business and want more information then please get in touch.

More from our blog