What is Boolean search?

Boolean search is a manual type of search that allows you to combine keywords with operators so you can better define your search. Boolean searching is used to help you get search results faster and with more precision. To limit, broaden, or define your search, you can use Boolean operators like: AND, OR, NOT, etc.

When is it better to use Boolean search instead of a simple one?

Boolean search is especially useful if you need a high level of search customization. If you want to limit, broaden or define your search or if you just need stricter search criteria to eliminate unwanted results, Boolean search is recommended.

Boolean operators

Operator

Example

Functionality

"" - Quotation marks

"Brand Mentions"

Quotation marks are used when you are searching for a specific word combination or an exact phrase. In this example, you will not receive data containing "Mentions of brand" but only data containing exactly the expression "Brand Mentions".

AND

Brandmentions AND "competitor spying"

AND means you are searching for mentions that contain BOTH keywords (Brandmentions + "competitor spying"). Mentions containing Brandmentions only or competitor spying only won't be reported.

OR

Brandmentions OR marketing

OR means you are searching for mentions that contain either of the keywords (either the keyword Brandmentions or the keyword marketing). All mentions containing either brandmentions, either marketing or both keywords, will be reported.

AND NOT

Brandmentions AND NOT marketing

AND NOT will exclude all the data that contain the keyword Brandmentions together with the word marketing anywhere in the mention.

AND NEAR

Brandmentions AND NEAR online

AND NEAR specifies the closeness of your keywords to each other. This means that only the mentions where the keyword online is in the proximity of the keyword Brandmentions will be reported.

AND NOT NEAR

Brandmentions AND NOT NEAR online

AND NOT NEAR specifies the closeness of excluded and main keywords to each other. This means we will only exclude the mentions where the keyword online is in the proximity of the main keyword Brandmentions.

() - Brackets

"Brand mentions" AND (marketing OR spying OR "media")

Brackets are used to group terms together, so that operators like AND can be applied to all the terms in the brackets.

++

++BrandMentions

The ++ operator takes into account case sensitive exact data, lower and upper cases of your keyword. In this example, mentions that contain brandmentions or Brandmentions won't be reported.

How to set up Boolean Query Tracking

Within the Project Settings area, go to Keywords to track section and click on the Activate Boolean Query Tracking box.

Keep in mind that once the Boolean query tracking is switched on, your previous keywords settings will not be active anymore.

You can add only one Boolean expression using as many operators as you want and need.

Don't forget to click on Save and Rerun once you're done with the the search query.

If you want to switch back to the default keyword tracking mode, simply deactivate the Boolean query tracking.

Boolean Expressions Examples

Let's take for example the Boolean query from the screenshot below. What you are telling BrandMentions through this expression is that you want to get all the mentions containing the exact name Rafael Nadal plus any of the following tennis tournaments: Australian Open, Roland Garros, US Open or Wimbledon, but only if those mentions do not contain any reference to Roger Federer. To keep it short, a mention having the title: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer head to head at US Open, won't be reported.

example of boolean string

When it comes to Boolean Queries, expressions can be as long and as complex as you need. As long as you are using the operators correctly, the sky is the limit when it comes to the elaboration of the string.

In the screenshot below, we are telling the app to report all the mentions containing the keyword London + the exact phrases: Hyde Park + horse riding + good weather but not the ones including the word winter, or the ones including the exact phrases: horse riding + lessons + London.

boolean search example BrandMentions

In the example below, we can see a string that we can create if we want to get a report of mentions that are related to the "apple" as a fruit, and not the technology company from Los Altos.

example boolean string BrandMentions

Boolean Query might come in handy when you're into the recruiting industry as it can give you very targeted mentions that can lead to finding candidates, jobs, projects, etc. In the screenshot below, we are asking the app to return only those mentions that contain the keyword "developer" in the proximity of the keyword "job" plus any of the words "Java" or "PHP", but not the words United States (and variations of writings the state). Therefore, if you were to look for developer jobs with skills in Java or PHP from anywhere except US, here's a string that might come to help.

example of boolean search in BrandMentions

Let's take the example of another tennis tournaments related query. We know that the string below may look long and may be overwhelming, yet, what we are looking for here are the mentions that contain the names of the big tennis tournaments (written in different variations) and the winner for the year 2021 : Wimbledon + US Open + Australian Open + Roland Garros + winner + 2021. The string might look complex, yet, the results will be as straightforward and on point as they can be.

example of boolean expression in BrandMentions

The importance of the Brackets operator

In short, you can use brackets to maintain groupings and indicate priority.

Brackets help you group search phrases and prioritize operators.

You can use the brackets operator to include multiple operators without changing the search query. When using Boolean search, we have to tell the app how to "solve" our expression. This means that in order to get the most relevant result for us, we have to use parentheses to tell the app what to solve first. This is where using brackets comes into play.

Brackets are essential for writing complex search strings, but their application often causes the most confusion . Essentially, a clause within brackets is given priority over other elements around it. For example, if we take the following search:

BrandMentions OR brand monitoring AND social listening

Do I mean to say I want to find mentions that have either the keyword “BrandMentions” or the keyword “brand monitoring”, and has the word “social listening”, too? Or do I mean that they have to have “social listening” or the combination of “BrandMentions” and “brand monitoring”?

When using multiple operators, the absence of brackets can make it impossible for the app to know what exactly do you need.

Let's see how things change when you add brackets.

(BrandMentions OR brand monitoring) AND social listening

BrandMentions OR (brand monitoring AND social listening)

In the expressions above, things are more clear but they also give different instructions: in the first one, we are looking for all the mentions containing "BrandMentions" or "brand monitoring" but also contain the keyword "social listening". In the second one, we are looking for all mentions containing "BrandMentions" or mentions containing brand monitoring + social listening. There are whole different expressions that offer whole different results.

When it comes to complex Boolean expressions, brackets might be one of the most important operators.

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