Google Search Tips and Tricks

Get the most out of Google Search with these advanced tips and tricks


google tips and tricks

How well can you use Google Search? Do you simply type in a few keywords and view only the first few results, or are you an avid user who can find just about anything you want to using Google Search?

Below are some advanced Google Search Tips and Tricks that you may or may not be aware of… Also provided will be a search bar so that you may test out your new-found knowledge for each of the sections below. Your results will open in a new window, so don’t be afraid to lose your place!

Search Operators for Google Search Tips and Tricks

You can easily narrow down your search results by adding symbols and words–called search operators–to your Google Search rather than simply typing in generic search terms.

When you type in your Google Search using search operators, leave out any spaces between the operators and your search query. A search for site:yahoo.com will work, but site: yahoo.com will not.

Searching for exact words or phrases

Enclose the term or terms inside of quotation marks to find an exact match on any given web pages. This is can be helpful when searching for lyrics to a song or a famous quote from a book or person. Only use this if you want the exact phrase or word because you may miss out on valuable information if you use this by mistake. Also note that most punctuation is ignored except for special characters which are listed below.

“Here’s my number so call me maybe”

Exclude a word

Adding a minus sign (-) before any word or site will exclude any results that include that specific word or site. This can be used to help narrow down your results to a more accurate find:

jaguar speed -car
windows -site:microsoft.com

Search within a site or domain

If you would like to view results within a specific site or domain, you can use the site: search operator after your search term or phrase:

personals site:yahoo.com
taxes site:.gov

Search for pages that link to a URL

If you would like to find all of the pages that link to a certain site you can use this simple search operator. The below example will show you all of the pages that have a link to Adobe:

link:adobe.com

Search for a specific term within the Title of a website

Place intitle: before any terms that you want to search for within the Title of a website or web page.

intitle:resume
intitle:”resume software engineer”

Search for terms within the URL of a website

Use inurl: to search for a specific term or terms within the URL of a website.

inurl:resume

Putting inurl: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allinurl: at the front of your query:

inurl:healthy inurl:eating is the same as allinurl: healthy eating.

Search by file type

Use the filetype: operator to search for specific types of files, such as PDFs, DOCs, JPG, MP3, XLS, etc.

filetype:pdf

Tip: You can include multiple extensions in your query.

Example: (filetype:doc | filetype:pdf | filetype:rtf | filetype:txt)

Search for pages that are similar to a URL

To find all similar sites to one that you already know, you may use the related: search operator. If you would like to find all sites that are similar to iTunes, you can use this simple syntax:

related:itunes.com

Using a wildcard

This can be especially useful if you can only remember part of a quote or certain words to a song that you heard on the radio. Use quotation marks for different variations of an exact phrase or to help fill in the blanks for song lyrics…

“you give * a bad name”

Search for either word

If you would like to search for pages that may have just one of several search terms, include OR (capitalized) between each of the words since typical results show pages of all matching terms.

baby clothes free OR cheap

Search for a number range

Separate numbers by two periods without spaces (..) to see the results which contain the numbers within a given range such as dates, prices, and measurements.

used iphones $50..$100

Find information about a site

Get information in any particular site, including the cached version of the page, similar sites, and pages that link to the site.

info:facebook.com

See a cached version of a site

If you would like to see what a page looks like the last time Google crawled the site, you can use:

cache:harvard.edu

Punctuation

When you use search operators, most punctuation and special characters will be ignored. However, there are some punctuation and symbols that will work in your search results:

Symbol What it can be used for:
[+] Search for things like blood type [AB+] or for a Google+ page like [+Chrome]
[@] Find social tags like [@youtube]
[&] Find strongly connected ideas and phrases like [Mike&Molly]
[%] Search for a percent value like [40% of 80]
[$] Indicate prices, like [nikon $600]
[#] Search for trending topics indicated by hashtags like [#thewalkingdead]
[-] Indicate that words around it are strongly connected like [fifty-year-old wine]
[_] Connect two works like [quick_sort]. Your search results will find this pair of words either linked together (quicksort) or connected by an underscore (quick_sort).

 

Definitions

Use Google Search to find the quick meaning for a term of phrase:

define:mesothelioma

Calculator

You can also type in a math equation to have Google Search solve your problem for you using the basic functions (- * / +) and parentheses:

(4*8)/7*412-(6/9)+56

Unit Converter

Convert units simply by typing in the units you already have with what you want it converted to:

67 gigabytes in megabytes

Google Search Engine Practices

Well, now that you have the basic foundation understood, let’s put this into practice, shall we? I will provide you with a scenario to try and then have you modify the syntax even further. Sound hard? Well, it won’t be because I will even provide the answers and an explanation where necessary. So, when you are ready, let’s begin!

Senario 1: You would like to search NYTimes for any articles written between 2008 and 2014 about test scores in college but not SATs.

Answer: site:nytimes.com college “test scores” -SATs 2008..2014



Notice that the term college is NOT inside of the quotes with test scores… Why is that? Try both ways, with it inside and outside of the quotation marks and you will see a HUGE difference! The reason being is that if it is INSIDE of the quotation marks, Google Search will look for that exact phrase: college test scores
But that is not what we want. We are looking for any articles about test scores in college. The three words do not necessarily have to be in the same phrase, only the same article.
The -SATs will exclude any articles that contain that keyword and the 2008..2014 is the date range.
Now, can you use the same scenario, but this time to include articles that are about test scores or SATs in college?

Answer: site:nytimes.com college “test scores” OR SATs 2008..2014


Senario 2: You would like to find a report on the different air speed velocities of common swallows.

Answer: filetype:pdf air speed intitle:velocity of *swallow


This is simply searching for any keywords matching air and speed with the word velocity in the page title using a wildcard (*) to find any types of swallows such as the African or European.
You can also search for other filetypes such as DOC, TXT, RTF, etc.
Now, can you use the same scenario, but this time only show results for schools? Hint: just the ones with an .edu domain.

Answer: filetype:pdf air speed intitle:velocity of *swallow site:.edu


Senario 3: You would like to find sites for mesothelioma law firms with asbestos in the title that have to do with current settlements.


Answer: “mesothelioma law firm” intitle:asbestos *settlement 2013..2014

Not hard at all, right? That just means that you are getting the hang of things! Well, this one will have a curve to it… Can you find all the results since 2005 that have cases which have settled for amounts between 1 and 10 million dollars?

Answer: “mesothelioma law firm” intitle:asbestos *settlement 2005..2014 $1000000..$10000000


Great job! Who woulda thought that there was so much more to Google Search than just typing in a few words? Another tip: If you have a picture that you would like to find similar images of, you can drag and drop it into Google Images and it will display a whole plethora of possibilities!

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1 Response

  1. December 24, 2015

    […] again using different keywords using some of the techniques that I wrote about in this blog post on Google Search Engine tips and tricks where I provide an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to get the most out of your Google […]

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