Google is the uncontested leading search engine in the world, with 82.80% of searches in the US as of May 2011 (www.wikipedia.org). Users of Google Search on the average find relevant results to their searches within the first 3 pages of their results, mostly within the first page. With a few tweaks to the search keywords, searches could produce more accurate and relevant results, and you would never have to go past the first page of your search results.
I was tasked to research on one of my university lecturers and with my searches yielding lots of irrelevant results, I decided to educate myself and searched for better ways of searching with Google Search. 🙂 In this post, I am sharing 13 tips and tricks for better results with your Google searches.
- Use the plus sign (+) to force a search for an overly common word. Use the minus sign (- ) to exclude a term from a search. No space follows these signs.
- To search for a phrase, supply the phrase surrounded by double quotes (” “).
- An asterisk (*) represents any word—not the completion of a word, as is traditionally used.
- Google will search for all your keywords in a search except for the ones that they considered too popular to be of any use. The list of these ‘stop words’ are the following http://www.ranks.nl/tools/stopwords.html
- The Google synonym operator is “~“. Example: ~ape will get you results similar to: Monkey, gorilla, and chimpanzee.
- Google is NOT case sensitive. So, if you search for Three, three, THREE, or ThrEE you will get the same results.
- Google has a hard limit of 10 words, it ignores anything beyond 10 words.
- When you have more than 10 words in a search, use * and or eliminate words from the exclusion list.
- The site: operator instructs Google to restrict a search to a specific web site or domain. The web site to search must be supplied after the colon. Example: site:www.cnn.com
- The filetype: operator instructs Google to search only within the text of a particular type of file. The file type to search must be supplied after the colon. Don’t include a period before the file extension. Example: filetype: pdf
- The cache: operator displays the version of a web page as it appeared when Google crawled the site. The URL of the site must be supplied after the colon.
- The intitle: operator instructs Google to search for a term within the title of a document.
- The related: operator as you might expect; finds pages that are related to the specified page.
There are dozens more tips, and a good way to streamline your Google search is to used Google Advanced Search. In a future post, I will share a few tips for hacking Google.