8 Google Search Tips: Always Find What You’re Looking For

These days the first thing we all do when looking for answers is to “Google it”. Alphabet’s search engine company has created an incredibly effective search engine. Which is why it can be very frustrating when you can’t figure out how to get the results you want from Google. 

Well, if you’ve reached the end of your rope, here are a few off-the-wall Google Search tips that might just dig up those elusive search results when nothing else will.

1. Think Like a Search Engine

When search engines index pages, they use various ways to decide how to classify and refer to various sites. They also have to decide how important pages are relevant to each other and how relevant they are to the specific things that you’ve searched.

Google makes use of a technology called PageRank. This determines how important websites are based on how many other sites link to it. So how does knowing this help you?

Well, if the site or information you’re looking for would seem unimportant to PageRank, you’re more likely to find it much further down the list of sites. Certainly not on the first page or two! That’s because you and PageRank aren’t determining what’s important in the same way.

Search engines like Google are also constantly changing and refining how they determine results. While you don’t have to be a search engine expert to get effective results, it can be useful to read updates on the Google search algorithm. If you have some insight into how the search engine “thinks” it can help you figure out why you aren’t getting the results you expect with the search terms you’re using.

2. Think Like Other People

When we formulate search terms, we do it intuitively. Each person is going to have a unique way of phrasing things.They will use the vocabulary they’re comfortable with.There are a million ways to say the same thing and, depending on who you are individually, you may phrase something in a way that’s uncommon or different from the majority of people searching or writing about the topic.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cross-cultural bit of information, you might have to do a little research on the terms used by people from that culture and include them in your own search.

Whatever the case, it can help to either make your search more mainstream or tailor it to the region most associated with your topic. Think of the human element involved and spice up your search terms with the right human flavor! 

As an aside, you might want to use Google Translate to change your search phrase into another language if that’s relevant to your search. You might find something on the non-English web that has what you want.

3. Whip Out a Thesaurus

This Google Search tip speaks to the previous one to some extent, but is perhaps a little more by the book.The book in question being a thesaurus! Yes, synonyms, antonyms and all the different words that describe the same thing can be found in a thesaurus and that can help you nail down more search results. Try variations of the vocabulary you’re using in your search and see if they have any impact on the search results you get.

4. Search Around the Thing You Want

You aren’t finding the thing you’re looking for, so why not try searching for things that are closely associated with them? By searching for associated people, concepts and keywords you might just pick up information dedicated to the subject you were searching for. One of those related pages could have a reference in it to an obscure resource that Google missed.

So think about things that people might search who are digging around in the same general area as you and then either search for that or combine those search terms with the ones you’re already using for a more precise result.

5. Play Charades With Keywords

Are you trying to find a song, movie, book or some other bit of media that you just can’t remember the name of? Maybe you watched it as a child and have vague memories of it. So how are you going to find it if you don’t know the most important words, such as the title or author?

You’d be surprised at how accurate a search engine like Google can be if you simply add up all the things you CAN remember about something. If you search “movie with flying dog” Google dutifully spits out The Neverending Story as the result. The more things you can remember, the more likely the unique mix of terms together will lead you to the right place!

6. Use Something Other Than Google

Remember how we said that search engines have algorithms that make them “think” in particular ways? Well, no two search engines think alike. While Google is the most popular search engine, you’ll lose nothing by tossing your search terms into its competitors.This will give you a larger diversity of search results and offers a much better chance that you’ll find what you’re looking for.

7. Ask Other People

Search engines are fantastic pieces of software engineering, but sometimes they simply don’t compete with the wisdom of crowds. This is especially true if you’re looking for information that’s ultra-obscure or specialized. It could be more straightforward and effective to tap into the human brain directly. 

Look for forums, Facebook groups and other discussion spaces where people who specialize in the subject area you need help with congregate. You can also hit up sites like Quora or Reddit and hope that people who happen to know what you’re looking for will catch wind of it. Not everything is on the web or well-indexed by search engines, so don’t write off direct human assistance!

The only real problem with this result is that you have no guarantees of a response and it could take a long time before anyone gets back to you. Still, if you’re not getting anything on Google search, you don’t have much to lose by putting a few feelers out on the web hoping for the kindness of strangers.

8. Learn the Technical Tricks

While Google has been designed to be intuitive and human-friendly, it’s still a technical piece of software. Which means there are plenty of power user features hidden behind it’s simple facade. If you really want to take control of your search destiny, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these advanced Google Search tips. 

Luckily we have two great guides ready to go, so if you need to upgrade your Google-fu check out 15 Google Search Features You May Not Know About and Advanced Google Searching Using Search Operators.

Combined with a little creativity in your searches, these technical skills will help you ascend to Google mastery. At least until the next major change to the Google algorithm, that is.

How to Change the Default Google Account

You can conveniently sign in and switch between multiple Google accounts in your web browser. That makes it easy to use Google’s suite of web apps and services with any account, be it personal or work-related. 

However, your browser will automatically revert to a certain Google account that it identifies as the default. This is only ideal if you use that account the most. If it’s not, you’ll need to change the default Google account.

But here’s the problem; Google offers no option or setting to do that. So, you could very well be stuck with a default account that you hardly ever use, constantly having to remind yourself to switch accounts all the time. Annoying, right?

Thankfully, there are a couple of methods that you can use to change the default Google account in your web browser. Let’s go through both of them.

Sign in With the Default Google Account First

Your browser doesn’t pick a random Google account as the default. Rather, it automatically assigns that slot to the first account that you sign in with. This means that you can have any Google account as the default as long as you log in with it first. 

If you’ve already signed into all of your accounts, you must sign out of each one and start all over again. It does seem like a lot of work, but as you’ll see, the entire process to change your default Google account is easier than you think.

1. Load Google Search in a new browser tab.

2. Open the Google account menu from the top right of the screen. Then, select the Sign out of all accounts option. The browser will sign you out of all Google accounts immediately.

3. Select the Sign in button on the top right of the screen. If you use Chrome, select Continue first, and then select Sign in. Once you do that, you will see a list of all Google accounts that you’ve previously signed in with.

4. Select the Google account that you want to set up as the default. If you haven’t signed in with the account before, select the Use another account option.

5. Insert the Google account’s credentials and sign into it. That should make it the default Google account in your web browser.

6. Open the Google account menu (which should be visible again) to sign into the rest of your Google accounts.

If you want to verify that the first Google account you signed in with is indeed the default account, simply switch to another account, and then re-open the Google account menu. You’ll see the Default tag next to the default Google Account.

The steps above apply to all major web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. If you use Chrome, then there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind:

  • Signing out of all Google accounts will stop Chrome from syncing your browsing data. It will only resume once you sign back into the Google account that you’ve set up at the browser level for syncing purposes.
  • Changing the default Google account will not change the account that you’ve signed into at the browser level. If you want to change that as well, you must turn off Chrome Sync and sign in with another account via Chrome Settings.

Add Google Account to a New Profile

If you plan on changing default Google accounts frequently, having to sign out and back in all the time can be a hassle. Using separate browser profiles instead can help.

Since browser profiles run independently of each other, signing into a new profile with a Google account will automatically make it the default. You get the benefit of having a separate set of settings, extensions, and browsing data to go with the account as well.

Out of all browsers, Chrome makes it the easiest to create and switch between profiles. Adding a Google account to a new Chrome profile also means that you get to sync your browsing data with the same account.

1. Select the profile icon at the top right of the Chrome window. Then, select Add.

2. Enter a name for the profile and select a profile picture. If you use Chrome on Windows, you can choose to add a desktop shortcut for the profile by checking the box next to Create a desktop shortcut for this user. Once you’re done, select the Add button to create the profile. 

3. Select the Already a Chrome user? Sign in option on the Welcome to Chrome splash screen. If you don’t see that, select the profile icon to the top right of the Chrome window and select Turn on Sync.

4: Enter your Google account credentials and sign into the new Chrome profile.

5. Select Yes, I’m in when prompted to turn on Chrome Sync. Select Settings instead if you want to specify the various forms of browsing data (passwords, extensions, etc.) that you want to sync. You can also do that later via Chrome Settings.

The Google account should now be the default for the Chrome profile. It will remain the same even if you decide to add other Google accounts. In case you want to change the default Google account, follow the steps in the previous method.

To switch between Chrome profiles, click the profile icon to the top right of the screen and pick the profile from underneath Other people. Select Add if you want to create another Chrome profile.

You can also create new profiles in Firefox and other Chromium-based web browsers such as Microsoft Edge. While they do lack Google account integration at the browser level, you should be able to set up default Google accounts in separate profiles without issues.

The New Default

Until Google implements the means to specify the default Google account directly, both of the methods above should help. To recap, signing out and logging back in works if you have no intention of changing default accounts regularly. Otherwise, using separate browser profiles is the way to go.

How to Make a Business Card in Google Drive

Google Drive can be your free business card maker when you want it too. It won’t overwhelm you like other design tools do like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, and the results can be just as good. Plus, Google Drive gives you three ways to design your own business cards if you don’t want to make one from scratch. 

We will cover three ways to make a business card in Google Docs:

  1. Design a business card from scratch.
  2. Use a business card template on Google Drive.
  3. Import a Microsoft Word business card template.

So, let’s get down to the simple business of making an eye-catching business card that you can either print or even share as an image. 

Make a Business Card From a New Document

Google Drive is not a graphic tool. But it gives you one or two tools that you can repurpose to design a business card — Google Drawing and Google Slides (or Presentation).

Google Drawing is simpler than Slides. Google Slides can give you a few more features to play around with like colorful Layout themes and a collection of Slides specific add-ons. 

Make Your Business Card

To keep it as simple as possible, let’s see how to design a business card in Google Drawing. We will design both the front and the back of a card. The final cards will look like this:

You can use the same drawing tools on Slides too. 

  • Sign into Google Drive. Select New > More > Google Drawings.
  • Use the standard size of a business card (8.9 x 5.1 cms. or a 1.75 ratio) to set up the page. The standard business card size can vary across countries. Go to File > Page setup > Custom and enter the values in inches, pixels, or points.
  • The Drawings canvas is transparent by default. Choose the background color you want for your card with a right-click anywhere on the canvas. You can choose a solid color or a gradient from the contextual menu. You can also go with an image file as a background.

    Since you will likely print the card, it’s usually better to choose a solid color. We’re going with a solid blue in our example card.

  • Google Drawings allows you to view guides and rulers. Both are vital for placing the card elements precisely on the canvas. Enable the Snap to Grid and Snap to Guides options to insert and align objects with better precision.

    Go to View > Snap To > Grids / Guides.

  • Your canvas is now ready. All you have to do is creatively use Shapes, the Text Box (for Fonts), and Images (add your logo) to personalize your business card. Drag and drop icons into the canvas and position them as you see in the example.

    Tip: To precisely nudge them into position, press the Shift and the arrow keys.

  • In the example above, we have used a simple icon and a font with a color combination to make the card look more professional. Thanks to the huge library of free Google Fonts, you can use any font that goes with your brand image. 
  • There are many Google Drawings elements you can use to add graphics to your card. Lines, shapes, and even Word Art. 
  • Every element can be formatted with more options. To see them, just right-click on the element and choose Format Options from the context menu.
  • As you can see, for the back design, the example has used the Montserrat font, CC0 icons from free icon sites that represent the main logo and the tiny logos for telephone and email, and a simple black vertical line that acts like a separator. 
  • The footer with the website address is just a shape made from a rectangle and a triangle grouped together. As you can see, the adjoining orange footer is the same shape but flipped and reduced in size.

Print Your Business Card

With both sides done, you can now send the business card for printing. You can download your designs as a PDF file, standard JPEG, or as a scalable vector image from the File > Download menu

Of course, you can always send it directly to a printer from Google Drawings. Remember, business cards can be double-sided like the example here. So you have to choose the Two-Sided option in your printer. Check if your printer supports duplex printing. Also, test your design on plain paper before switching to card stock. 

Make a Business Card From a Google Doc Template

Business card templates are the quickest way to get over your fear of design. Several business card templates are available for Google Docs. Use a Google search to locate and open them in Google Drive. 

You might have to request edit access from the owner. Sign into your Google account first. Here are a few examples you can check out:

Use a Microsoft Word Business Card Template

As you know, you can open and edit Word files in Google Docs. Word has an online template gallery for business cards and far more sources for third-party business card templates too. To use one, just upload the DOCX file into your Google Drive and edit it with Google Docs.

Some graphic elements might not import well. But you can always use the basic design as an inspiration and add your own in Google Docs. When you select to edit a template in Google Docs, the card will open automatically in Drawings. 

Business Cards Still Matter

vCards and email signatures might have taken over the old role of the business card, but business cards still matter. A creative business card can create that first impression which no digital image can equal. It has that personal touch. Think about it…you can add just a QR code to a card and it will intrigue your next contact just enough for them to check it out. 

Think about a few more creative uses for business cards and print your own. Try it at your next meeting and see if it helps to grease the wheels of your network. 

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube’s recommended section is where people most often go to find new videos to watch. Videos here are tailored to the user in order to make them click on videos YouTube thinks they’ll be most likely to watch. But how exactly are these videos chosen?

Most people refer to this process as the YouTube algorithm. It’s how the site calculates which videos to put in a user’s recommended section. It also impacts a user’s search results. So, knowing how this algorithm works is pretty valuable if you’re a creator trying to reach more of an audience.

YouTube has not explicitly stated how this algorithm works. However, they have discussed it at times in the past and by doing some investigating on the site, people have worked out a general idea of what goes on within this algorithm. 

How YouTube’s Algorithm Impacts User Experience

As noted before, there are a couple areas of YouTube that the algorithm majorly impacts. These are the recommended section, and search results. 

With YouTube search results, the algorithm looks at a few different sets of data on videos. There are literally millions of videos out there on the site, so they need to make sure the most relevant ones to the user are shown first.

YouTube analyzes a video’s metadata such as the title or description and looks for keywords that most relate to the user’s search. So if you know what people are searching the most, you can integrate that into your title and description. It also looks at the amount of engagement a video has. This is the video’s views, likes, and comments. 

YouTube puts videos first in the search results that match the closest to what the user usually clicks on and watches. 

With the recommended section, there is a bit more to the process. The first thing YouTube does is put a rank on all videos which is determined based on that video’s performance. This includes things like engagement, how quickly views are accumulating, how active the channel is, or how long people watch the video. 

After the algorithm has determined a video’s rank, it tries to decide which of these the user would personally want to watch. These are things like what topics and channels they usually watch, what recommended videos they’ve watched before, or how long they watch certain videos. 

What Data Is Used In The Algorithm?

If you’re wondering exactly what you can do to improve the chances that your video is recommended to more viewers, you might want to know exactly what data is used in the algorithm.

Here is the data YouTube looks at when deciding to recommend a video:

  • Impressions: How often does a user click on your video after seeing it?
  • Watch time: How long do users watch your video?
  • Activity: How many videos has a user watched from your channel already?
  • Recent activity: What kind of topics has the user recently watched?
  • User info: Are they part of the video’s usual demographic?
  • Session time: How long do people stay on YouTube after watching the video?
  • View Velocity: How quickly is a video getting views?
  • Channel activity: How active is the video’s channel?
  • Engagement: Are there a lot of likes, views, and comments on this video?

Now, a lot of these are things that you may have little to no control over. However, you do have the ability to influence some of these data sets and improve how YouTube ranks your video. This will help you show up more on people’s recommended page or search results. 

How To Get More Viewers With YouTube’s Algorithm

So what can you start doing to get the YouTube algorithm to favor your videos? There are a lot of easy changes you can make that will get you more engagement and better video stats in the long run.

Use Keywords In Your Titles and Descriptions

When people are searching on YouTube, they will use certain words relevant to the videos they want to watch. If you use words related to your video topic that people are searching for, you’re much more likely to get people to see your video.

Don’t over-use keywords, though, as it might come across odd to viewers. 1-2 keywords per line is a good rule of thumb. 

Stay Active

YouTube rewards active content creators. Make sure you have a consistent schedule of when you upload videos and stick to it. You can also try making multiple videos in advance so you have a backlog of videos ready to post. 

This will not only help you keep the subscribers you already have, but it will also encourage the algorithm to include you more in people’s recommended pages or search results. 

Keep Your Viewer’s Attention

The longer viewers stay on your video and watch it, the better reach your videos will have. This could mean cutting too-long introductions, or irrelevant information in your videos. When people click on a video, they want to see what the title says they’ll see. 

This means you can’t rely too much on clickbait titles, because your video actually has to deliver in order to keep a viewer watching. And now that YouTube’s algorithm focuses on watch time as much as view counts, it’s just as important to keep your viewers interested. 

Cultivate Engagement

YouTube gauges a video’s engagement by the amount of views, likes, and comments. An easy way to get this count up is by encouraging people to comment on your video. You can ask them questions in your video and have them respond by leaving a comment.

It’s also important to respond to your viewers. Liking and replying to their comments will make a viewer much more likely to watch more of your videos and even subscribe to you if they haven’t already. 

What is G Suite & How to Get Started

G Suite, formerly Google Apps, is a collection of cloud-based enterprise applications from Google. You only need an active internet connection and a browser to use these cloud apps. Traditional business applications create and store documents locally. This restricts sharing and collaboration. 

In G Suite, the document is saved online, and anyone can access it with the right permissions. Collaboration across an enterprise is the core purpose of G Suite. G Suite is designed for businesses, schools, non-profits, and any other organization that chooses one of three pricing plans.

G Suite Is a Paid Subscription Service

Many people are confused between G Suite and Google’s other free apps also built around Google Drive and collaboration. You have to remember that G Suite is enterprise grade and thus includes a lot of extras that are not part of Google’s free consumer apps even though the names might be the same. 

Here’s a short list of those extras:

  • Administrative controls for user accounts.
  • Custom business email address (with a @yourcompany domain name).
  • 30 GB of Google Drive space per user (in G Suite Basic plan) against the 15 GB of space in the free Google Drive.
  • Archive every email message and chats, and control how long you can keep them.
  • Create multiple calendars for different purposes. For instance, a project based calendar. Members can collaborate on schedules, appointments and more.
  • Use Endpoint management to keep your company’s data secure across all devices.
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime on business email with 24/7 phone and email support.
  • Powerful security options like two-step authentication and SSO.
  • Seamless interoperability with Microsoft Outlook.

Which Apps Are Included in G Suite

It might seem that G Suite and a free Google account have the same apps. Many apps are common like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Apps Script etc. G Suite adds enterprise level features to some of these apps. 

For instance, the free legacy Gmail and the G Suite version are similar. The latter allows you to ditch the @gmail.com address for your own custom domain for a more professional email address. 

Even Google Calendar is souped up with shared calendars that can handle schedules for entire teams. In G Suite Calendar you can set up events with a few clicks and even book meeting rooms. 

Enterprise users value security above everything. Administrative controls support advanced security protocols for all users. Multi-factor authentication and endpoint management are two strict barriers against any attack. Administrators can remotely encrypt data on devices, lock lost or stolen mobile devices, and wipe devices from G Suite’s Security Center. 

How Much Does G Suite Cost?

There are three versions available for teams and companies of any size. G Suite also offers a 14 Day free trial. Payment plans are flexible, as you can adjust the number of team members anytime and Google will bill you accordingly every month.

Basic: The basic plan starts at $6 per user / per month. Every user gets 30 GB of secure shared storage across all Google apps. It includes all of Google’s productivity apps but lacks Cloud Search (a search feature to access your entire company’s content in G Suite), App Maker (a fast drag and drop app development tool to build custom apps) and Vault (an archiving tool for G Suite). 

Some missing features in individual apps include a lesser limit of 100 participants in Google Meet (Compared to 150 and 250 in Business and Enterprise plans respectively) and no live streaming for those on the same domain. 

Business: The business plan starts at $12 per user / per month. It is feature-wise the same as the basic plan but offers unlimited storage for all users. Extras include Vault, Cloud Search, and the App Maker. 

Enterprise: The executive plan starts at $25 per user / per month. This plan includes all features of the business plan with unlimited storage but supports it with advanced security and administration controls, as well as reporting features. 

There are some extra facilities in individual apps. For instance, you can live stream a presentation via Google Meet to a maximum of 100,000 users on the same domain.

You can compare the different G Suite editions and buy a plan that’s a fit for your team. 

Google also has special versions called G Suite for Education and G Suite for Nonprofits with lower priced plans. 

How to Get Started With G Suite

Starting on G Suite is simple. Choose your plan first. Select the blue Start Free Trial button and G Suite takes you through the registration process. Remember, you are limited to 10 users in the trial period. 

1. Select your team strength and country. 

2. As you sign-in, you need a domain name that will be your unique address instead of the standard “@gmail.com”. In case you don’t have one, Google can help you choose and buy one.

3. Your unique domain name is used for your business email address. Now, the Setup begins.

4. The Setup takes you straight to the Admin Console. Here you will have to verify that you own the domain name you used in the first steps. Google skips this if the domain is bought through Google.

5. Sign into your domain host (the hosting service where you bought your domain name) and add the text verification code to your domain’s DNS records or DNS settings.

6. Google verifies your domain within a few minutes. Now, you can add new users with their email accounts. During the trial period, you can only add 10 users. 

7. Activate Gmail for your domain and you are all set up to dive into G Suite and configure it for your enterprise. Once it’s set up, you can begin migrating your organization’s data, such as email, calendar, contacts, folders and files to G Suite.

8. To set up a subscription plan, go to the Google Admin console > Billing. Set up billing from this screen with the help of these instructions

Make Working Together Easier

Today, all productivity suites use collaboration to help teams work together remotely. G Suite has a rival in Office 365. Both G Suite and Office 365 are subscription based and offer a rich portfolio of tools. If you use either of them, tell us about your likes and dislikes.