When it comes to wasting time vs. saving time, there’s one thing that really bugs me. Those around me know that I can’t stand to watch someone else work on a computer. Why? Because most people don’t know how to efficiently use a browser!
Over the 20+ years that I’ve been on a computer for literally seven days a week, I’ve come up with productive ways to use it. Over the past two decades, I’ve spent more time on my computer than most people do in a lifetime. Every keystroke, everything I do to get around my computer is optimized to a certain degree.
With the countless hours I spend on a computer, even little, individual shortcuts add up to saving me a lot of time. Learning how to use a computer is one thing but learning to efficiently use a browser is a completely different concept—even efficient use of Google is a skill.
I don’t have time to go into detail in this article, but we can look at some very basic things.
Basic rule: (this is REALY basic)—you do NOT need to type in the WWW. when you are typing in URLs. Just type in where you want to go. For example, armandmorin.com will automatically redirect to www.armandmorin.com. Google.com will automatically go to www.google.com.
Knowing that saves me four keystrokes every time I type in a URL. It may not sound like much, but I do it hundreds of time a day. With a simple URL like google.com the fact that you leave off the www. Probably saves you 40% of the time it would take to add the three w’s and the dot.
Like I said, this is VERY basic but over days, weeks, months, years it saves you a considerable amount of time.
Another thing you must look to do is create shortcuts. Now, because of the fact that we may be searching for different things, your shortcuts may be different than mine.
For example, if I want to know how many of my pages are indexed by Google I simply type in site:armandmorin.com and I see that I have (as of this writing) 804 pages indexed in Google.
If I wanted to see how many pages someone else had indexed I would just type in “Site: (and then insert their site url”, for example, site:huffingtonpost.com they have over two million pages indexed.
Why do I do this? I want to see, in an instant, how many pages I have indexed and also how many my competitors have indexed. This may or may not apply to you, but it’s important to me, and I don’t want to waste time on it.
Here’s another shortcut, I can scroll forever when I browse Google results. I found that clicking for a new page every ten listings was a time waster.
You can change it in your Google settings too. Just do a Google search
and you’ll see a menu on the upper right…it’ll have things like Maps, News, Shopping etc. Just look for “Settings” and click on it, then click on “Search Settings” in the drop-down menu. You should see a “Results per page” ruler. Most people have this set to 10 or 20. I set mine to 100.
How does this help? What if I’m searching for something, and it’s the 61st listing. With my “search settings set at 100 I just do a fast scroll down the page until I find it. If I left the settings on the default (10 listing per page) I would have to bring up a new page six times before I finally arrived at what I was looking for.
If you have your microphone set up in Google, you can use the shortcut my daughter uses. She doesn’t type in her searches. She just clicks the microphone symbol (in the search box) and speaks whatever it is she’s searching for.
The Google Chrome browser has this automatically built in and you can enable it in most other browsers.
Moving back to the “Settings” dropdown again, this time click on “Advanced Search”. This is a very important page. If you understand this page, it will make your life ten times easier. It’s self-explanatory; they give examples to the right of each box.
Basically, it shows you how to narrow down your searches. You don’t need
to go to this page each time you use it. Once you understand it, you can utilize it from the regular Google search box.
Let’s look at an example. I type blue widget into my search box, and 350,000,000 searches come up. Now, I can narrow that down by using
quote marks. This time I type in “blue widgets” and it narrows my results down to 118,000 searches which is a MUCH more targeted scenario for me.
It also shows how to search for things on social media. Let’s say I want to search for Armand Morin on Twitter. I would type in, Armand Morin @twitter and it will bring up all the twitter pages mentioning Armand Morin.
Using @armandmorin will search for everything regarding Armand Morin across the different social media sites.
Here’s a fun one. Years ago, I bought a $1,000 sundae while in New York city. The sundae actually had gold in it. I wrote an article on it. If I wanted to find my article, it would be a major task to try and find it under Armand Morin.
But, if I narrow it down by typing, site:armandmorin.com sundae, it will bring up a link to the page where I talked about it.
Let’s say you want to use a free image of a famous person. You could waste time and go looking for the images and then finding ones that are free, or you could just used advance Google search features that will pop them right up.
You have to be very careful with images. If you choose the wrong one, you’ll find yourself getting sued. But Google makes it simple to find the right ones. How?
First you pull up the images of, for example, John Wayne. You click on “tools” and you’ll see a sub-menu. Click on “Usage Rights” (in this sub-menu) and you’ll see the following options:
- Not filtered by license
- Labeled for reuse with modification
- Labeled for reuse
- Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification
- Labeled for noncommercial reuse
We want the “Labeled for reuse” one. Click on it, and it will give us all the images of John Wayne that are labeled for reuse.
This only took a matter of seconds, and it protects us from a lawsuit. We could even further narrow this down to picture size or color.
These advanced search features enable me to find images or information from a specific page on a specific website. I no longer have to scroll through multiple pages on numerous websites.
I highly recommend becoming familiar with the features of this “Advance Search” page so that you can narrow down your broader searches to more targeted ones for what you are looking to find. Click on all the links in order to get more advanced explanations and examples for advanced searches.
This may sound like a lot of work, but you only have to go over these one or two times to become familiar with advanced features.
Doing this will save you a lot of time and frustration as you grow your business.
These search secrets can also be used on YouTube. You may be thinking that these short cuts only save you a few seconds. But, think of multiple things that each save you a few seconds being used throughout the day, month and even years…they end up saving you a lot of time—and time is money!