Are you familiar with ‘Boolean Operators’?

If not, you should be!

Many people have heard me talk about the increasing importance of search. Both to find and be found. But the vast majority of people I train, are unfamiliar with the expression ‘boolean operator’.

What is This Boolean Operator I Speak of?

Essentially, a ‘Boolean Operator’ uses simple conjunctions to generate more focused search results on search engines like Google by combining or excluding certain keywords within a search. Trust me, using them is much more productive, streamlined and targeted once you get the hang of them.

Why Use Them in Search?

The main benefit is the sheer amount of time and effort you can save when conducting a search. Employing Boolean Operators in a search significantly cuts or increases the amount of results returned and eliminates irreverent or unwanted hits, meaning you don’t have to sift through thousands of results before getting to the helpful information you are seeking.

Different search engines use Boolean operators in a slightly different
way or may require the operator to be inputted with capitals or have special punctuation. Each search engine will usually have a boolean operator guide found in the help screen or ‘Research resources’ section.

At its simplest level, the three most common operators are ‘AND’, ‘OR’, ‘NOT’.

But here’s the kicker:

***Currently, the Boolean operator ‘NOT’ does not work in Google!***

(Please note: My valued LinkedIn Connection, Irina Shamaeva recently pointed out that AND is not a Google operator and shouldn’t be used (although it does’t harm your search results) and NOT was never a Google operator. Instead, a minus symbol is used in front of the search term you wish to exclude).

In my personal opinion, whilst AND may not be a ‘Google’ operator, it does add a level of discipline to the way people think about and approach search, plus it has worked very well for me for many years. I have never been a fan of ‘false positives’, preferring to seek affirmation of inclusions.

You can find more information about refining Google searches here.

Irina Shamaeva has also compiled a detailed guide on some immensely helpful LinkedIn specific operators, that my Connection copywriter, John Espirian directed me to, which can be found here. 

So, you have to be clever with finding positive results containing the words you are searching for, rather than finding them through omissions.

Next time you are searching for prospect clients on LinkedIn, try this useful Google search option OFF LinkedIn to ensure your search returns the most suitable results that help you reach your goals:

site:linkedin.com/in AND Director AND Manufacturing AND (Leeds OR Bradford) (Substitute your own words!)

This will bring up the profiles of people on LinkedIn who meet the criteria you have set.

The is the simplest form of boolean search.

There is a much deeper level to search that I love to explore.

What boolean operators have you found that are immensely valuable? Let me know over on LinkedIn.

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To find out more about our in-house training courses, get in touch via the form below, email us on nigel@valueexchange.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)7976 894353