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The minus sign is a huge plus

A green plus symbol and a red minus symbol

The older the internet gets, the more irrelevant information it provides when you perform a search. So if you’re not using the minus sign to help narrow your searches, you may be missing out on a huge and simple productivity gain. You may know this trick and forgot to use it. It’s worth a reminder.Suppose you live in Clinton, NJ and you want to find out information about your city in Google. You type “Clinton” into google:

You probably will have to sift through millions of pages on Bill and Hillary Clinton in the results (as of this writing, Google estimated it at 187 MILLION results). So if you aren’t looking for Bill or Hillary that’s going to be frustrating.  A google search such as that becomes nearly useless.

Now try searching for “Clinton” but add “-Bill -President -Hillary”  into the search (without the quotes).

Notice the dramatic difference. The search excludes any mention of the words Bill, President, or Hillary. The total results are still huge, 168 million results, but that 10% improvement will feel more like 90% because you’ll not see many irrelevant results that google would otherwise assume you wanted.

By removing key words that you know are irrelevant to a search result, you will instantly and powerfully focus your searches and save a ton of  time. In short, using minus is a big plus. 

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