10 tips for a more effective Google search.

The Google search engine has become part of our routine so that we frequently use it to check facts, data,  unknown subjects, and  historical information. As the process of online search is user friendly, it’s common that people just enter the words related to the subject they want to know about and don’t take some time to learn about the tools that would make their search more effective. Here are some tips that will take you to more precise results:

  1. Searching for an exact word or phrase.

When searching for an exact word or phrase, remember to enclose them in quotation marks and in the exact order you would like it to appear on the results. Putting the phrase in quotation marks makes Google consider them as a single entry so that unwanted pages in which the words are written separated or in a different order won’t appear in the results. For example, you should write “like a rolling stone” if you are searching for this exact phrase.

Once you reach a specific webpage, you can search for a word by pressing, at the same time, the ctrl and F  keys (Windows) or command and  F (Mac). A text box will appear so that you can enter the word you are looking for.

2.  Searching for something in a specific site.

The operator site: is very useful to restrict the results to a specific domain or website . For example, if one is interested in getting information about the profession of physiotherapist on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, he/she could type physiotherapist site:bls.gov. Make sure that there is no space between the operator and the website or domain.

3. Searching for a definition.

If you don’t know the meaning of a word, a quick way to find it is to use the function Define followed by the word. It will give you its definition.

e.g. Define interoperability

4.  Searching for a specific product within a specific price range.

A combination of the symbols $ and period (.) can bring the results for the product within the wanted price range. For example, laptop $300..$400

5. Searching for a specific filetype.

Another operator that filters results is the filetype. You should use it to download different kinds of documents. For example, filetype:kml marco polo will bring only results on Google Earth about this subject. Other example: filetype:pdf william shakespeare will bring content about  Shakespeare in pdf documents.

6. Including or ignoring words in your search.

You can exclude words from your search by putting a dash before the word you don’t want to appear in the results. It is useful when the same word has several meanings such as cats (animals) and cats (musical). So,   if  the     search     is    about    the    musical,   it    could     be     written   cats -animals. That will restrict the results given and allow better filtering.

To include words, you can use the operator OR, written in capital letters, between the words. Then, the pages that will appear in the results contain one of the words.

7. Finding sites/pages similar to an existing one.

When you know a web address and want to find sites/pages similar to it, you can use the operator related: .  As an example, to find similar sites to flowers.com, you can write related:flowers.com.

8. Confirming an exact form of a quote even if you were missing some of the words.

In this case, you can substitute the terms you forgot by the symbol *. You might check the famous Einstein’s quote by writing God does not play * with the *.

9. Searching for pages containing two connected words.

The operator intext: is useful when you search for pages that contain the query and a connected term. As an example, to find information about Canada’s birds that migrate to Mexico, a person could type “Canada’s migratory birds” intext:Mexico.

10. Searching for social media content containing a specific tag.

Using the symbol # with the term will help you to find the topic on social media. So, by typing #bluejays, one can check the news/posts about the Toronto’s baseball team on the different social media.

By adopting these methods, you will optimize your searches, getting more accurate results and saving time. In other words, you can use Google as a tool to help you to complete your researches more efficiently,  for academical or professional purposes.


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