Google has changed the way we get new information. A wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips by simply entering a few search terms. Although most people know how to search the internet, they may still need to experiment a bit with searches to get to the information they really want. With a few handy Google search tips, however, you can get to the right information the first time, every time.
1. Use an Exact Phrase
By enclosing your keywords within quotation marks, Google will look for the exact phrase or grouping of words side by side, instead of just searching for the words independent of their location in the search result. For example, if you’re looking for information about direct sales, by enclosing the phrase in quotation marks (“direct sales”), Google will search for the two words together.
2. Try Using This OR That
Google will include all words within your search criteria unless you specify differently. By typing OR between your terms, Google will know that it can look for one set of terms or the other. Make sure you capitalize OR, or Google will assume that it’s just part of your keywords. As an example, to find information about dogs or cats, you would simply enter dogs OR cats.
3. Exclude Terms
If you don’t want Google to include a word that is usually associated with your search term, add a minus sign in front of the word. For example, if you are looking for marketing automation tools, but you don’t want email marketing automation tools as a search result, you would enter -email marketing automation tools, and Google will exclude the word “email.”
4. Find all Words in a Text Block
To find a set of words that appear in a search, but that aren’t necessarily sequential, enter allintext: followed by your search terms. Google will find results that contain all your search words somewhere within a body of text. As an example, if you want to find information about 2018 marketing conferences in the Midwest, you would enterallintext:Midwest marketing conferences 2018.
5. Find Words Within Text + Title + URL, etc.
To find web pages where one term appears in the body of that page and another term appears somewhere else (in the title or URL, for example), use intext: followed by your keywords. For example, if you are looking for an article about the health benefits of running, you would enter intext:health benefits running.
6. Only Find Words Inside a Title
If you’re looking for results that fall only within the title of a web page (but not necessarily beside each other), enterallintitle: before your search words. For example, if you are looking for an article that lists the best Thai restaurants in Chicago, you would enter allintitle:best Thai food in Chicago.
7. Find Words Within a Title + URL + Text, etc.
You can also search for one set of keywords that falls inside a title, and another set that appears somewhere else on the web page. To do this, enter your first set of search keywords, followed by intitle: and then your remaining set of search words. To find an article about popular marketing magazines, for example, you would enter: marketing magazines intitle:popular.
8. Target Words in a URL
Like finding words that are only in a title, you can also search for words within the title of an article or document. Simply enter allinURL: before your keywords. If you are looking for a financial services blog, for example, you would enter: allinURL:financial services blog.
9. Search Inside a Website
Here is a little-known tip for searching within websites (even if they don’t have an organic search function). Entersite: and then the website URL, followed by your search term. For example, to find information within the Wall Street Journal site, you would enter: site:wallstreetjournal.com “NYSE”. Obviously, the WSJ has an organic search tool, but if you encounter a site that doesn’t have one, this search shortcut is a lifesaver.
10. Find Similar Words
To search for similar keywords or phrases within search results, enter the ~ sign in front of your keywords and Google will pull up synonyms related to your search. A search for “direct marketing” ~strategies would return exact results related to direct marketing strategies, along with similar results like tips and best practices, and other synonyms related to the word “strategies.”
11. Related Terms
To find content within a website that is related to content you know about on a different site, use the modifier related: followed by the rest of your search words. To find content related to something you’ve seen on Yahoo News, for example, you would enter related:www.yahoo.com/news.
To quickly look up the definition of a word without having to go to a dictionary website, simply type define: before the word you wish to know the meaning of. Google will deliver the definition and an audio player that offers the word’s phonetic pronunciation.
13. Linked Pages
To return a list of web pages that mention a particular phrase or keywords, enter the link: command, followed by your search term. Google will produce a list of all pages that link to your keywords. For example, link:Coachellawould pull up a list of all linked pages that contain content related to Coachella.
14. Specific News References
To find news in a specific location, enter your search term, followed by the location: command and your second set of search criteria. To find a list of news results about elections in Russia, you would enter elections location:Russia.
15. Missing Words
Say you aren’t sure of every word to include in a set of terms. You can include an * to indicate that you need Google to fill in a blank for you. This works well for song lyrics or book titles, as an example. To find the rest of the words to the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty,” you would enter Humpty Dumpty * a wall.
One of the handiest Google search tips is the ability to quickly translate words between languages. Use the word translate, along with the word in the language you know, followed by the new language. To translate “document” into Spanish, you would enter translate document to Spanish.
17. Document Types
To find documents of a specific file type, use the command filetype: in your search words. Let’s say you wanted to find only PowerPoint presentations about marathon training plans. You would enter: “marathon training plan” filetype:ppt and Google will serve up only PowerPoint presentations in your search results.
18. Area Code Lookups
To find out where a particular area code is located, you don’t even need a command prompt. Simply enter the three-digit code and Google will return the location. For example, enter 317 and Google will return area code results for Indianapolis and its surrounding counties.
19. Phone Number Lookups
Another handy internet search tip is to look up unfamiliar phone numbers. By entering the command phonebook:followed by the phone number, Google will show you the owner of the phone number (assuming it is listed and searchable).
20. Zip Code Lookups
It’s easy to find the zip code for an address using these Google search tips. Just enter the address, including street number and city, and Google will return the zip code result for you–no need to enter any additional text. For example, to find the zip code for the White House, you would simply enter 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC.
21. Stock Information
If you are looking for information about a particular stock, just enter the company’s stock ticker in your search bar, and Google will pull up the latest performance data. For example, enter MSFT for information about Microsoft’s stock performance.
Did you know that Google even works as a calculator? Simply enter your calculation into the search bar, using the appropriate order of operations. In other words, * for multiply, + to add, – to subtract and / to divide. As an example, if you wanted to multiply 20 times 25, you would enter 20*25.
23. Tip Calculator
Are you never sure how much to tip? In addition to regular calculations, Google also has a handy tip calculator function. Simply enter the search term tip calculator, and Google will return a simple calculator to help you determine the percentage to tip based on your total bill.
24. Find Numeric Ranges
To find information that falls within a range of numbers (dates for example), use two periods between the beginning and ending numbers of the range you wish to search. Let’s say you wanted to find data from only 1980 to 1982. You would enter 1980..1982 to return information from only that range. This tip is most powerful when you combine it with another set of keywords. For example: “census data” 1980..1982.
If you’re in need of a stopwatch and don’t have one handy, enter stopwatch into your search bar, and Google will serve up a stopwatch tool.
Likewise, if you need quick access to a timer, type in the number of minutes you’d like the timer to run, along with the word timer. For a ten-minute timer, you would enter 10 min timer. Hit “start” to begin counting down.
27. Sunrise and Sunset
If you’d like to know what time the sun will rise and set on a particular day, search a particular location along with the term sunrise or sunset.
28. Weather Data
If you are looking for weather information for a particular location, enter the location plus the word weather and Google will return current conditions, as well as weather alerts and forecasts for that location.
29. Flight Status
A little-known search tip that will save frequent fliers some time is the flight status search. Simply enter the name of the airline plus the flight number and Google will return information about the flight including estimated departure time delay information and current status. For example, to track the status of a Delta flight, you would enter DL 101.
30. Sports Scores
Are you a sports fan? Google search is an easy way to stay on top of scores and the latest news about your favorite team. Simply enter the name of your team or two teams that are playing each other, and Google will return information about scores and schedules.
31. Nutrition Information
Trying to decide what to have for lunch? Enter the names of two foods with the command vs in between them, and Google will offer information about fat content, calories, nutrients and more.
Everyone knows how to use Google, but not everyone knows how to use it well. There are many other Google search tips that will help you save time and effort when you look for information online. Practice makes perfect. As you use these Google search tips more frequently and get comfortable with search shortcuts, you’ll find new ways to get to the information you want more quickly and with greater precision.