Google is an awesome website and utility, right? But do you really know how to search for something and get amazing results?
This post contains about 10 search tricks that you can use when searching Google. This isn’t a complete list as I don’t know every single “power search” you can do with Google, so if you’ve got any additions leave a comment below.
A fairly simple trick to use if you want to search for something with an exact phrase. This trick is really useful for things like name or brand searches, particularly if say the brand has a common word in the name – for example “SEO Andy” would return my site 99.9% of the time, but SEO Andy may not as SEO is a very common word on the internet. Tip: You can use exact searching with non exact searching eg. web design “seo andy”.
Without This Word – use the minus -symbol Again a simple little trick, but using the minus symbol (or hyphen) will run you search but only show results not containing the word following the minus symbol. This is useful if you are looking for educational essays but not by a particular author.
Search Within a Specific Website – use site: Not all websites contain a search box, but as long as it is indexed by Google you can search through the contents of the website. Simply start your search using site: for example a search of site:seoandy.net “yell.com scam” would return results from within my website for the exact search “yell.com scam“.
Search for Words Similar Too – use ~for search Using the ~ (tilde symbol) before a word will search for the word and words similar to it in meaning / synonyms. This is useful if you are searching for a service for example a search for SEO ~Professionals would garner results for things like SEO Experts, SEO Pros and SEO Gurus.
Definition of a Word Search – use define: Definition searches are pretty handy. Again there are educational uses but also just in case you forget meanings or words such a Tilde (for this you would search define:tilde). It will show you results from princeton.edu or wikipedia usually above search results, but then the normal results below. Handy and quick.
Search for a Document Type – use filetype: This is handy if you are looking for a pdf, word doc, power point presentation, csv / excel file etc. Just add it to the end of your search and it will garner results with that file type. Common filetypes are doc (word docs), ppt (power point), xls and csv (excel), rft (rich text format docs), pdf (for pdfs) … You can search for any file type using the file extension of your documents, so you can look for things like zip files too or less common file types.
Use Google as a Calculator If you’ve used the calculator on your computer you will no doubt know that * (asterisks) means multiply, / (forward slash) is divide, plus and minus are both obvious. Unlike most computer calcs you can also use brackets, which is handy, as well as things like sin and cosine – enter your equation / sum and out plops the answer. If you do a quadratic it will usually also show you a nice little graph – handy for those of you writing essays. ((eg. 5*9+(sqrt 10)^3= ))
Convert the Time in a Given Timezone or Convert Temperatures and more! The conversion element of Google Search is vastly under used. You can convert time (eg. 9pm GMT to PST), temperatures (eg. 9f to c) measurements (eg. 5inch to cm) and currency (eg. 25AUD to USD, or 25.99GBP to AUD etc). There are more out there, but these are the few I can recall right now.
Search for a Keyword Within a URL – use inurl: This is handy for those of you who are budding SEO’s or Marketers. You can search for a term within a url, such as “inurl:nike” or “inurl:seoandy” would return results for the keyword in use. It is useful but sometimes you would be better using a site: search. You can use both together (eg. inurl:yell site:seoandy.net would search this site for yell).
Stock Searching – use the company symbol If a company is trading on the stock market you can find the latest figures, along with a graph of previous figures and what the current status of the day is, simply use the company stock symbol, for example GOOG would be Google and FB is Facebook.
BONUS! Find a Cached Version of a Web Page If a website is ever offline but is indexed by Google, simply take the url and stick cache: before the url in a search. For example a search for cahce:http://www.seoandy.net/about would show a cached version of the SEO Andy Company Information page. This is another trick thats fairly handy for budding SEO’s and Marketers as it shows you what Googles search rankings are based on, it is this page which is in the index and can be useful in demonstrating why a page may not be found for a new search term you’ve just added into your content – it can take google 3 months to return to reindex a static page!