Mom Views: A Mini Tutorial on Boolean Searches & Google Alerts

I would like to try something new and fun here on our Sunday Spotlight. Periodically I would like to share the endless and amazing stream of sites I encounter daily in my on-line travels. Many of these sites would super helpful to any business person whether you are a writer or in sales. This feature will be called Sunday Spotlight Mom Views and I’ll share sites and tips that I think will be helpful to everyone.

SO…Let’s get this party started with the first juicy tidbit I found this week. Time for a quick mini tutorial for my readers on something called Boolean Search Operators and Google Alerts.

Boolean Search Operators are symbols you can use in front of words or phrases you are using in searches to fine-tune your search results. The first one is probably one everyone knows about, using quotation marks (“”) around phrases. If you search “women in business”, you will get a return of results that match that exact phrase if you frame it with quote marks.

The next one I thought was very cool and one that I wasn’t aware of. It’s using + in your searches. By adding a plus sign in front of the word you are searching in Google (or wherever), you will get returns on that search that match ONLY that word. Example: +coffee

The opposite would be using the minus symbol () to do searches minus a specific word. Example: If you were searching the topic of bullying, you may use cyber to eliminate search results that include the on-line verision of it (cyberbullying).

Then there’s use the word and. Using the word and in a phrase will return results only with both terms in it. Example: Coffee and sugar.

Now, take this information one step further with Google Alerts.

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. You simply go to http://www.google.com/alerts, and load it up with the relevant terms or topics you wish to monitor. This is also a handy tool to see what other people or businesses on the Internet are saying about YOU and your business!  Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams

Here’s a screenshot what I have in my Google Alerts:

Test different keywords to see which brings you the best results. Google Alerts saves you the time of searching and re-searching topics of interest. It also helps you stay on top of changing trends, and even helps you know when people are talking about your business (or your competition!) PLUS..did I mention Google Alerts is FREE??!!

What topics would you like to learn more about?

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About Becky Flansburg


Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog Franticmommy.com is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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