- If you want better results from Google you need to ask better questions.
- There are tons of comands and modifiers you can add to a search string.
- Using some of the commands included in this article will help you get the most of Google
How many times you’ve searched on Google for something and got frustrated by either the lack of results or by their irrelevance. Usually, it’s not Google’s fault necessarily, but did you know you can ask Google better questions?
Using the following Google search tips you can supercharge your searches and get better results, faster answers, by sorting through potential results, looking in specific places, eliminating results, and so on.
It’s pretty interesting, so read on.
- 1 Tip #1: Search an Exact Phrase
- 2 Tip #2: Exclude Words
- 3 Tip #3: Similar Words
- 4 Tip #4: Search for Either Word
- 5 Tip #5: Search in a Numerical Range
- 6 Tip #6: Get the Definition of Something
- 7 Tip #7: Get Results from Specific Websites
- 8 Tip #8: Search for Results Published Before or After a Date
- 9 Tip #9: Search Similar Pages
- 10 Tip #10: Find Links to a Page
- 11 Tip #11: Search in the Content/Title/URL address of a Page
- 12 Tip #12: Search in a Specific Location
- 13 Tip #13: Find Missing Words in a Phrase
- 14 Tip #14: Search Specific File Types (Extensions)
- 15 Tip #15: Math Calculations
- 16 Tip #16: Unit Conversions, Exchange Rates
- 17 Tip #17: Stock Quotes
- 18 Tip #18: Sport Scores
- 19 Tip #19: Instant Translations
- 20 Tip #20: Weather at a Location
- 21 Tip #21: Time/Sunset at a Location
- 22 Tip #22: Movies
- 23 Tip #23: Flight Tracker
- 24 Tip #24: Package Tracker
Tip #1: Search an Exact Phrase
When you search for word1 word2 what Google does is looking for pages that contain both word1 and word2, in any order, with or without other words in between.
You can force Google to search for a specific phrase using quotes: “word1 word2”
Tip #2: Exclude Words
For specific searches, that can result in a misunderstanding of context it might be a good idea to exclude from search results pages that contain specific words.
You can indicate Google to remove from search specific words if you place a minus in front of them, without a space: football -soccer
Tip #3: Similar Words
Sometimes you don’t know the exact wording you’re looking for, but know the synonyms of that word.
You can instruct Google to search for pages that contain similar words to the one you’re placing a tilde in front of, without a space: ~paths for jogging
Tip #4: Search for Either Word
Sometimes you want to compare things, but are not looking for pages that do a direct comparison. So in this case you want to see pages that contain either this or that term.
You can look for pages that include either of the words in a search by using the boolean operator OR: sushi OR pasta
Tip #5: Search in a Numerical Range
Imagine you want to find out about the important people born in a specific period of time.
You can select a numeric range in Google by using two periods with no spaces between two numbers: celebrities born in 1980…2000
Tip #6: Get the Definition of Something
Google can help you with definitions for words and phrases, all you have to do is ask correctly.
You can ask Google to define a word of phare. You will get the definition from a well-known dictionary: define: scrupulous
Tip #7: Get Results from Specific Websites
It’s possible to restrict the search to a specific website or sites containing a specific string in their domain name.
You can reduce the number of search results to a specific domain or a domain ending in specific characters by placing site: in front of the string: office site:microsoft.com
It also works with a range of websites: office site:org
Tip #8: Search for Results Published Before or After a Date
If you want to get specific you can even limit the results Google will search through to those published before a specific date, or after a specific date.
Limit the results to those published before a specific date with before: operator or published after a specific date with after: operator.
Note: There’s no space after the operator. Also, Google will display results according to their publish date, not the title or contents of the article.
Tip #9: Search Similar Pages
It’s even possible to find pages and websites similar to the one you specify.
You can tell Google to find sites and pages that are similar in content to the one you specify: related:cnn.com will show you other news websites.
If you need to find out who links to a specific page or domain there’s a special command.
You can check the links to a page or website by using the following syntax: link:businessinsider.com
Tip #11: Search in the Content/Title/URL address of a Page
By default, Google searches in all parts of a page, but you can make sure the words you’re looking for are found in the content, so you can avoid clickbait or other shady tactics.
You can search in the page contents:
- All search words are found in the page contents: allintext: your search query
- Only a specific word in page contents, the rest can be found in other elements: your search intext:query
You can search in the title of the page:
- All search words are found in the page title: allintitle: your search query
- Only a specific word in page title, the rest can be found in other elements: your search intitle:query
You can search in the address(URL) of the page:
- All search words are found in the page address: allinurl: your search query
- Only a specific word in page address, the rest can be found in other elements: your search inurl:query
Tip #12: Search in a Specific Location
It’s possible to restrict search results to a geographic location if necessary.
You can use the location operator to filter news from a specific area: latest news location:Chicago
Tip #13: Find Missing Words in a Phrase
Google can even fill in missing words for you.
You can use a wildcard (*) operator in a search phrase to let Google figure out the missing words: better * than sorry
Tip #14: Search Specific File Types (Extensions)
Sometimes you don’t want to search for pages, but specific files.
You can search for results that are delivered in PDF format, or any other file extension using the filetype operator: google annual report filetype:pdf
Tip #15: Math Calculations
Don’t have a calculator in handy? You should, because all computers and mobile phones come with a calculator app. Either way, Google can also help you here too.
You can do math directly in Google by inputting the formula you want to be solved: 5 + ( 7 / 7 )
Google can even solve equations for you: 5 + ( 7 / x ) = 6
Tip #16: Unit Conversions, Exchange Rates
Similar to math, you can convert from one unit system to another, or calculate how much a specific amount of cash amounts to in a different currency.
You can convert from one unit system to another: 180 cm to feet
You can even convert from one currency to another: 100 USD to EUR
Tip #17: Stock Quotes
It’s possible to get the stock value of a company directly from Google Search.
You can either (a) search for the stock ticker symbol, but there’s another way to do it if you don’t know the ticker, (b) use the stock operator in front of the company name: stock: Apple
Tip #18: Sport Scores
Do you have a favorite baseball team? Do you follow any kind of team sports? Google can help with the latest scores, of course.
You can search for the team name and a list of the latest sports scores will show up: Boston Red Socks
Tip #19: Instant Translations
Don’t know how you say something in another language?
You can ask Google to translate words for you from one language to another: translate water to Italian
Sub-tip #18: Use the Google Translate website to translate entire documents (here’s how).
Tip #20: Weather at a Location
Looking for the latest weather forecast?
You can directly ask Google for the forecast at a specific location: weather New York
Tip #21: Time/Sunset at a Location
Do you work in a remote position with a team spread all over the globe? Knowing when to call someone could prove handy.
You can ask Google to tell you the time at a specific location. You will also get the timezone for that location: time Los Angeles
The same applies for sunset time: sunset Seattle
Tip #22: Movies
If you’re a movie buff like me you’re probably looking for the latest movie trailers and news all the time.
You can find info about a movie in Google with the movie operator word before the name of the show: movie: Back to the Future
Tip #23: Flight Tracker
Waiting for a loved one to arrive at the airport?
You can track flights in Google by entering just the flight number: AC7491
Tip #24: Package Tracker
Tracking a shipment is also possible, but doesn’t work for all shipping companies, as expected.
You can enter the tracking package number and you’ll find out the latest info: 1ZAY63956829668856
Note: Play around with spaces, no spaces, colon, or no colon. You can even combine operators from the list above in the same search for even more clear results. Google is becoming very good at knowing what you want to search, even if you don’t ask the correct way.
Know other Google Search Tricks? Mention them in a comment below, even if they’re too niche. In the meanwhile learn how to perform a reverse image search with Google and about the Google Docs quick accss menu.