*Editor’s Note: The below screenshots of search results are not current. If you were to test these phrases today, the results would be different.
People (a lot of them) use Google daily for exploring the web and finding information.
What most people do not understand is the “mostly unknown” complexities of searching the web with Google.
Allow me to introduce a few tips for improving your search results.
Google Search Basics
Most people simply type their phrase into the search box, how to use google search, but there are several tricks you can use to improve your results. Let’s start with the basic ones.
Exact Words, Exact Phrases
By using “quotation marks” around your search term(s), you are telling Google to return results including that exact “word” or “exact phrase”.
Going along with our screenshot above for the phrase tennessee music, let’s see what happens when we search for “tennessee music” (in quotes).
Notice how the results changed and now include sites where the words Tennessee and Music are used together.
Related Words and Synonyms
Using a tilde (~) is the opposite of using quotes for exact matches.
Searching ~crackers returns any results that are related to crackers including hackers, cracks, cracking, Keebler.
This OR That
You can also use OR to return results using one term or the other.
Searching twitter OR youtube will show you pages related to either Twitter or YouTube. Another example would be advertising OR promotion.
The OR has to be capitalized.
If I wanted to search for “tennessee music” but do not want to see any results related to UT Knoxville, I could use the minus (-) sign to exclude words from my search.
Below are the results for “tennessee music” -knoxville.
Google allows you to search within a specific site using the site: modifier.
If I wanted to search “social media” only within www.midtnmusic.com then I would type this in the search box: site:midtnmusic.com “social media”.
If you only wanted results about “social media” from academic sources, you could search like this: site:.edu “social media”.
Google will only return results about social media from websites with .edu domains.
Specific Document Types
If you are trying to find specific file types, you can use the modifier filetype: to locate PDFs or powerpoint presentations.
Searching “online music marketing” filetype:pdf returns the following:
More Search Tips and Tricks
Here are a few more tricks for getting more out of your Google search results.
To find the definition of a word simply search: define:hippopotamus.
No need to go through the steps of opening the calculator program that came installed on your computer.
Simply use the Google search box to find the answer. 5234 * 3432 / 12
Need to know how many pints are in a gallon? Simply search for pints to gallons or 5 pints in gallons.
Area Codes and Phone Listings
If you simply type in the 3-digit area code, Google will tell you what area is represented.
If someone calls you and you want to find out who it was, simply search for phonebook:1-555-555-5555.
Enter a ticker symbol (GOOG) and Google will show you the current financial information related to those specific stocks.
If you were looking for information that included a specific range of numbers or info related to a specific period in history, then simply search online marketing 1990..2000 or music industry 1960..1970.
- Tips & Tricks by Google Inside Search
- How To Search Google Like A Pro: 11 Tricks You Have To Know via HowToGeek.com
- 12 Quick Tips To Search Google Like An Expert via Hubspot.com
- How to Search Google Like a Pro (infographic) via ApexPacific.com