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Improve your keyword search with boolean operators

Have you ever found the term “Boolean” in your keyword search? Maybe not, but believe me, when you have to do a search, the Boolean operators will be your best friends.

What is a Boolean operator?

The Boolean operators were theorized by the mathematician George Boole in his first book “The mathematical analysis of logic” and, in lay terms, are simple words (AND, OR and NOT, ie E, O and NOT) used to combine or exclude the different keywords in a search. By using Boolean operators you can not only save time and effort by eliminating inappropriate results, but also reduce or expand the number of results obtained. In other words, they help you focus research on the results that best fit your needs.

The Boolean operator “AND”

The “AND” operator reduces the search by telling the database that all search terms must be present in the resulting records: only the results containing all the keywords will be shown.

Immagine che mostra l'operatore boleano AND
Example: marketing AND tools AND free

The colored area at the center of the Venn diagram represents the result set for this research and is the combination of these three keywords. If you do a search on Google, remember that Big G automatically puts an “AND” between the search terms, but as such the keywords in the results will not necessarily be present in the order set. To solve this problem it is possible to search using sentences to make the results more specific, or using, for example, inverted commas.

The Boolean operator “OR”

The “OR” operator broadens the search to include all the results containing all the keywords: it tells the database that any search term can be present in the results. The “OR” search is particularly useful when there are several common synonyms for a concept or variant of a word.

Immagine che mostra l'operatore boleano OR
Example: OR marketing social media

The entire area of the two circles is the result of this research that contains documents with the word “marketing” (but not social media) and documents containing “Social Media” (but not marketing), as well as documents containing both the term “marketing” is the term “social media” in any order or number of use.

The Boolean operator “NOT”

The operators “NOT” or “AND NOT” exclude words from the search: the first term is searched and then, each result containing the term with the negative operator, is subtracted from the results. This operator is useful for narrowing down the search and informing the database to ignore unwanted terms.

Immagine che mostra l'operatore boleano NOT
Example: marketing NOT tools

In this case, your search will contain results such as marketing strategy, digital marketing, but will not return marketing tools. Tip: You can use the minus sign as a “NOT” operator on many sites and search engines, including LinkedIn and Google.

In addition to the Boolean operators there are other useful elements, such as the Boolean search modifier. But for now, enjoy the search!

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