Those who said “seek and you shall find” probably haven’t tried sorting through the infinity of cyberspace. Well, it is harder if you’re extremely picky. Or if it doesn’t exist yet. Without search engine optimization, filtering data in the web for something remotely useful to your particular concern will be more dependent on luck than skill, or even diligence. Thanks to the good people who gave us SEO, we’re definitely better off. Just in case you lose yourself in the thick of things, you can improve your results by upgrading your Google Search skills with these tricks.
1. Put your search words in Quotes
When looking for an exact phrase, this is your best bet. Google will give you sites that contain your exact words in the exact order. On the other hand, including an asterisk within a quoted phrase will expand your search to variations where the asterisk is located. For example, “keep calm and *” will yield “keep calm and carry on”, “keep calm and stay home”, and so on. Pretty useful for lyrics you can’t remember.
2. Search Inside Sites
If you can’t find data you know is on a particular site, try this. Attach the web address and the topic you’re looking for to the command site: to scan your favorite websites. For example, enter “site:google.com search tricks” to look for search tricks in Google.com. You can also use this to limit searches within a domain (ex. “site:.gov topic"), which indicate the type of organization, location, or field, such as .edu for educational institutions, .gov for government, etc.
3. Choose a File Type
You can actually specify the file type you need. Look for PDFs, PPTs, or XLS by adding filetype: to the file abbreviation. If you’re doing a study on market research and want to see a PowerPoint material, enter “market research filetype: PPT”.
4. Look for the URL
Looking for a keyword contained in the web address? No problem! Use the command inurl: (ex. “inurl:googlesearchtricks”). You can also find related sites using the related: command. (Ex. “related:google.com”)
5. Apply Math
Say your office needs to refill on supplies but you got all the scissors you can ever need. Literally subtract it from your search using the minus sign. Enter “office supplies -scissors”.
6. Save Time with Similar Terms
If you’re short on time and need to scout a rainy day outfit, you don’t have to overload your query with synonyms. Fixing a ~ sign in one of the keywords will expand your search to similar terms. “Rainy day ~look” will also yield keywords like outfits, trends, and so on.
7. Share Your Location
If you find yourself in an area you’re not familiar with and you’re craving for sushi, you can turn on the location in your device settings. This way,Google prioritizes nearby sushi restos when you do your search.
8. Stock Updates in Realtime
If you’re an investor, you can closely monitor your stocks with ease. Just type in the ticker symbol, or the letters representing your traded security. Google Finance shows a fancy interactive graph complete with market analysis.
9. No Need for Words
If your hands are occupied, you can use the sound of your voice to do searches on your device, but do you know you can use images too? After all, images are pretty hard to describe in keywords. Google Images shows images similar to yours or sites that have the same. You can do this by doing one of the following: upload by dragging & dropping the image into the search box; copy the image URL onto the search box, right-click on a photo to ‘Search Google for this image;’ and thru images.google.com. Subject to compatibility, of course. Go to this link for more info.
10. Just for Fun
Google has a wacky side. See what happens when you enter these on the search bar: “Google sphere” (and click ‘I’m feeling lucky’), “Atari breakout” (in Google Image Search), “Google in 1998”, “askew”, “the loneliest number”, and “do a barrel roll”. Enjoy!
There’s so much information out there, and it will just keep on growing. Thank goodness for Google!