5 Advanced Google Search Tips for Freelance Gig Hunting and Niche Research

Established and experienced freelancers are unlikely to use Google to find paid gigs. They already have a collection of their favorite job boards that have proven to be effective for them and which they frequent. However, what has worked for some people might not work for you.

If you are just starting or if you want to broaden the job sources you are currently using, Google is a great place to browse.

No matter how great Google search is and how accurate results are, more often than not the key is in digging deeper. The freelancer who succeeds is the one who knows how to find what others can’t.

This post offers a collection of tips and advanced search operators that freelancers can use for market research and tracking gigs.

Use the search tips listed in the post to:

  • Get the full understanding of rates being offered. Google will find both new and old (closed) offers, but the variety of search results will give you an idea of the average project budgets and the approximate number of freelancers generally available to do the job.
  • Find most recent offers. There’s a tiny option in the left-hand of Google’s sidebar with search options. It lets you see results from the past 24 hours. This means you can play around with the search option to discover recent gigs and also (which is also important) find new places where these offers get published.
  • Create a Google Alert (or several Google Alerts) to get notified of new gigs in your niche.

1. Use the Exact Match

If you are sure which paid gig you are interested in, force the exact match by using quotation marks. You can use several phrases in quotes and let Google find at least one or any of the phrases.

For example, the following search command:

[“finance blogger” OR “business blogger” jobs]

This search translates as “Find me jobs either for “finance blogger” or “business blogger” or both.”

Similarly, you can describe the job itself in different ways – so you can include those variations as well.

[“finance blogger” OR “finance writer” jobs] This search will find both “blogger” and “writer” paid opportunities or either of the two.

Important note:
As you can see, unless you add [OR “finance writer”] you will only find blogging opportunities, which means you are ignoring plenty of alternative offers labeled as “writer.”

You can also force any word in the search results by using + before it: for example, if Google keeps ignoring the “jobs” word in search results, force-include it.

[finance writer +jobs] This way you are not forcing Google to search for the exact phrase, but you are telling it to include “jobs” in search results no matter what.

2. Use Wildcard to Control the Proximity

You can use the wildcard (asterisk) to let Google replace it with any word that would normally fit in this phrase. For example:

[“personal * writer” jobs] search will include the following in the search results:

  • Personal Finance Writer
  • Personal Trainer Writer
  • Personal Development Writer
  • Personal Assistant, Writer
  • Personal Resume Writer, etc

This search works best for inspiration when you are unsure of exactly what you are looking for and need some ideas (i.e. to create your own resume or profile page).

3. Use Synonym Search to Broaden the Topic

Let’s imagine you are not sure what you want to write about, but you think you can write anything money-related. In this case you will need to use ~ to force Google to include more synonyms in the search results.

[~money writer jobs] will find any related positions from “financial” writer to “grants” writer.

4. Filter Out Repetitious Domains

Sometimes no matter what you search for within one close topic or niche, you get results from the same domains (for example, the most popular jobs boards). But what if you need to find something less widespread, but more useful?

Try filtering out annoying common domains to force Google to find other relevant sources.

[“finance writer” jobs -site: indeed.com]

Similarly, you can use the – operator to block anything from the search results such as any irrelevant words that tend to interfere with search results.

5. Broaden Your Vocabulary

Employers and potential clients may use different words to describe a paid opportunity. These can be:

  • jobs
  • wanted
  • needed
  • freelancers
  • position, etc

Likewise, there can be different ways to describe the job position, for example:

  • writer
  • blogger
  • editor

… to name a few. And don’t forget that these words can be used in both the singular and plural. e.g. “writers needed.” Of course, it is impossible to cover each and every possible choice of words that people may use to describe the position, but playing with various words and phrases will let you see a much broader picture.

To find more of these possible ways to put down one and the same idea, all you need to do is to browse freelance jobs board and notice all the different variations.

Your Turn

Do you use Google to find paid gigs? Please share your tips!

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