You Can Control Your Google Search Results…Here’s How
Updated: Sep 22
I recently took a class in strategic foresight. We looked up major trends happening in an industry of choice. I chose management consulting. The problem is that old information kept popping up in the results. By "old information", I mean data from the beginning of 2020 or earlier. (By the way, this class started in May of 2020...so, a lot of the pre-COVID trends had to be reexamined.)
Google is a database in its most basic form. And it’s one of the biggest “Big Data” databases out there. Not many people treat it as such. Especially if you're just going to Google, typing in your search term, and trusting that the information that comes back to you is the best or the latest information.
Think about it. We think of the information we want to know. We visit Google (or another search engine) and we type in what we’re thinking – our search term. Google pulls articles that met both its algorithm and criteria for which results appear on the first page.
Here’s the million-dollar question: Did Google’s search results meet YOUR criteria?
Let’s stick with the strategic foresight example. So, I was looking for trends in a particular industry. Here's the catch. None of my sources could be more than 90 days old. That piece of criteria was critical for success. Information greater than 90 days old would have put me in pre-COVID trend territory – which would have skewed my data. To properly scan what’s coming up on the horizon, I needed fresh information about trends.
Google’s algorithms control the information that pops up on the first page. And who has time to scroll through thousands of pages of results? Not me. And I’m guessing that you don’t either.
The good news is you have control over the information you search for. I use Google, but I’m sure other search engines offer the same filters. Google has certain criteria that determine which articles pop up first. The results are not always the most relevant. They do not represent the latest information. The search results don't always yield information from the culture or nation that you're looking for. The secret is that Google has the capability to deliver this information. You just have to know where to look.
As with any data collection method, you can filter your information. You can treat a search opportunity as research. You can control your search results.
If I were to boil this down to a slogan, it would be this (and no…I do not receive any payola for writing this:)
Google filters: Control the search for yourself.
You can view this one-minute video for more information on how to gain more control over
your web searches.