You say Google and a world opens up for you. Everyone, and in particular the writer – but not only – consult it several times a day, to find news, to make proposals to magazines and blogs. And again to check what they have heard, to see what is said about a certain topic, who has talked about it, and in what way.
Yet the classic Google search is just one of the many tools that Big G offers to content writers, content marketers, journalists, and bloggers. There are many of those functions and tools that can not only facilitate your work and make it more fluid, but that, if used to the fullest, can make you see aspects that you may have overlooked.
From the advanced Google search, passing through Google Scholar up to the most well-known Google Trends, in this article we see how to best use Google tools before writing any article, which is in the very important phase of the search.
All free tools even if, as you already know, when it comes to Big G nothing is (and like him all the major majors).
The Topic Of This Post
- 1 Google Advanced Search: to find anything
- 2 Google Scholar: a high-level digital library
- 3 Google Dataset Search and Google Public Data Explorer: the importance of numbers
- 4 Google Alerts: to always be “on the spot”
- 5 Google Trends: find out what’s trending
Google Advanced Search: to find anything
If when you are looking for something, you just type on the white bar, know that you are using the search engine but that you are doing it in a fairly “basic” way. There is an advanced search function that allows you to do much more specific searches: Google Advanced Search.
You can get there from the link we put above, but also from the Google home page if you click on “settings” at the bottom right and from there on “advanced search”.
Once done, you will see that a form will open that allows you to customize your searches. You can, for example, ask Google to search its mare magnum for all web pages that contain a certain word or phrase or ask it to exclude certain words and do a more accurate search.
Let’s take the example you see in the picture. Let’s say you have to write an article on the flat tax but you don’t want to include the politicians’ statements in any way. You can do as you see in the picture: look for the pages that talk about flat tax and exclude Salvini and Di Maio, for example, by putting the sign “-” in front of their names.
You can narrow your searches by indicating a specific language, a specific date or period, or even search for a file such as pdf, excel, or other. Or a site that interests you particularly.
Same thing you can do for images: go to Google Advanced Search for images or from the Google Images home page, click on settings and follow the steps above.
Many of the functions that are provided by the form, can also use them by going to the Google bar and typing the appropriate commands.
One of them is to put the topic you are looking for in quotation marks, for example, “flat tax” and thus narrow the field. Or if you are interested in a specific site, you can use the site operator in this way.
What will come out are all the articles published in Repubblica regarding this topic.
If, however, you have little memory or particular hurry, with Google Advanced Search and the form you will take less time and you will make less “effort”.
Google Scholar: a high-level digital library
Ok, you have the idea for a certain article, you have searched the web but you are looking for something more “high”, more academic. Yes, but where to find it? Google Scholar comes to meet you, which in Italy is perhaps not very well known, but which is a real digital library that we recommend you use to have different and even more “institutional” sources. Furthermore, in the USA, it is also possible to find legal acts, this function is not present in our country.
Let’s continue with the example I gave you above: the flat tax. To find out if there are academic articles on the subject, just go to Scholar, type in the search bar and the results will show several, journalistically very interesting. Do you think the flat tax is only a topic of these months? Well, Google Scholar shows you the opposite by suggesting a 1999 publication as there are several examples of flat tax adopted in other countries. Useful, don’t you think?
Google Dataset Search and Google Public Data Explorer: the importance of numbers
And how do we put it with numbers? For these, 2 Google tools such as Google Dataset Search and Google Public Data Explorer, collection of datasets and views that can be included in articles can be useful. Journalistic, but not only: blogs, sites, and much more.
The first, still in beta, was born last year and allows you to find all the databases by taking you directly to the page where they were published. This wasting less time and also allowing you to incorporate them. To do this last thing, you must read all the information concerning this dataset, i.e. the author of the data, the date of publication, how the information was collected, and the conditions of use. It is a model on the standard defined by schema.org.
Google Data Explorer dates back to 2011 and provides data that is easy to explore and view. Such as rankings, animated maps, and much more even in interactive mode.
You have to write an article on the flat tax, but do you also want to make a paragraph on the minimum wage making comparisons with Europe? Just search for it and you will end up with a graph like the one you see below (related to Belgium, obviously an example).
This graph is based on Eurostat data and in general everything you find here comes from official sources. The cool thing? You can embed this and other graphics within your article. To do this, just click on the link symbol at the top right which tells you which string of code to copy.
Google Alerts: to always be “on the spot”
If you are a geek, this tool will not be new to you, but I happened to talk to many people who do not know it. And since it has “changed” my professional life, I think that Google Alert is a tool not only to know but to use by heart. It allows you to create an alert, an alert, on the topics of your interest and decide how often it should arrive in your mail (every day or once a week) and from what kind of sites: the whole web, just news sites, etc …
If, for example, you are always making your article on flat tax and you are waiting for a law on the matter or for a declaration from the Order of Accountants, just to give a few examples, you will not have to search every day, but you can be more “passive”: what you need “will arrive” via email. Also useful for those who perhaps write evergreen and sometimes feel the need to update the piece.
A gem: Google Alert is precious for your branding. Create a notice with your first and last name or the book you wrote and you will find out who talks about you and how.
Google Trends: find out what’s trending
Whoever writes, knows it by force and it is one of Google’s fundamental tools for checking current trends, but also for finding queries. Its uses can be multiple: you can check, for example, if the flat tax is of interest at the moment.
Google Trends does not show the searches in an absolute way, but it is an index on how they are doing about a particular theme. You can search for what is said in the last few hours, in a specific year, and much more. You can tell if people are looking for a more flat tax or a similar term etc …
And you can also make “subscriptions”, a bit like for Alert, ie follow a specific topic and get notified with updates. Not bad, right?
These are some of Google’s search tools. Last but not least: Google gives many of the suggestions in article in its Google News Initiative, designed especially for journalists and that I met thanks to the courses of Barbara Sgarzi and Clara Attune, ambassador of the platform and the thousand uses of Big G for journalists and writers in general. Which, it should be said, are of considerable support for our work.
And do you use other tools for research? Write us in the comments.