What a wonderful tool Google has turned out to be! And yet, when we type in a health search, we may encounter a huge number of websites—many of them ads or commercial sites—before we find a high-quality and credible website that can provide us with medical answers we trust.
Site retrieval depends on many factors, the least of which may be the quality of the site. Because of this, it is important to create the best possible search using the strategies available on the search engine.
How can we tame the “beast” that is Google and get it to work for us? Here are some quick Google search tips to help:
1. Keep your search terms simple and use only the main words. For example, if you are looking for information on asthma in children who live in New York City, enter: asthma children NYC
2. If you are looking for specific approaches, add more terms: asthma diet supplements relaxation yoga
3. Use relevant synonyms if you’re not finding what you need. For example: asthma herbs “herbal medicine” supplements vitamins
4. If you are searching a phrase, put it in quotes. For example, “ear acupuncture” (in quotes) will return 268,000 results, narrowed down from 2,360,000 results if you had typed ear acupuncture without quotes.
5. You can limit your searches to educational sites, government sites or organizational sites to help find more credible information by typing the word “site” followed by a colon and then .edu, .gov or .org, respectively, after your search terms. For example, to look up information about using biofeedback to treat migraine:
• for educational sites, type biofeedback migraine site:.edu
• for government sites, type biofeedback migraine site:.gov
• for organizational sites, type biofeedback migraine site:.org
Or, to include all these sites (.edu, .gov and .org) but to eliminate commercial sites, you can just type a minus sign before “site:.com.” For example: anxiety meditation –site:.com
6. To ensure the websites you retrieve are focused on your area of interest, you can require the search word to appear in the site title by typing “Intitle:” before your search word. For example, Intitle:fibromyalgia will yield 916,000 results, versus 15,600,000 results if you had just typed fibromyalgia.
7. Finally, if you are interested in following a particular topic, you can create a Google Alert at www.google.com/alerts. Create a search topic and choose the type of information you want (news, blog, books, everything, etc.), how often and how many results, then enter your e-mail address and click on “Create Alert.”
These tips will customize your search and help you get the results you want more quickly. Having more control allows you to be a better searcher on Google.
To find an excellent doctor who is right for you, please call our Physician Referral Service at 866.804.1007.