How to Use Google Search More Effectively to Find Exactly What You Want

Image courtesy of ISO Replubic

Image courtesy of ISO Replubic

Fun fact – Each day, Google process 40,000 search queries per second (which adds up to something over 3.5 billion searches in 24 hours… 1.2 trillion searches each year). Chances are pretty good you contribute to that 1.2 trillion annually and if you do, chances are also pretty good that you’re not using Google to its fullest extent – that’s not to say that you don’t know how to use Google! Google is so easy to use that many of us take for granted just how powerful a tool it can truly be. If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering why Google isn’t showing you what you’re looking for, read on!

Like all computer programs, Google is programmed to respond to various inputs by the user to change the way it would otherwise operate. For example, if you type in the phrase Trade show promotional products, Google will give you information on anything that contains any one, or more, of those words. However, if you use quotes around your phrase such as: “Trade show promotional products”, Google will ONLY give you results containing that EXACT phrase.

So, are you ready to take your Google search game to the next level? Use these tips, brought to you by the lovely folks over at lifehack.org:

Use hyphens to exclude words: For example, if you’re searching for books or movies on “The Three Musketeers”, use: “The Three Musketeers” –candy. This will keep you from having to sift through all the results dedicated to the infamous sugary treat.

Use a colon to search for content on specific websites: Let’s say you want to know what Reddit is saying about LeBron James right now; you would use LeBron James site:reddit.com for your search term. This will ONLY pull results on LeBron James from reddit.com.

Use an asterisk if you don’t know part of what you’re looking for: This is great when you’re trying to recall a rather wordy title or phrase. Let’s say you’re trying to find one of Abe Lincoln’s most famous speeches but you only know a few words of the opening. You can search for: *score and * years ago. Google will return to you with anything that contains those words and will fill in the blanks for you.

Find similar websites: Let’s say you’re trying to find the best price for airfare and you’re trying to see if the prices on priceline.com are really the best deal around, but you don’t know where else to look. Search for related:priceline.com and you’ll find any website that functions similarly to priceline.

Google is a calculator too! Quick, tell me 28 divided by 1245. I’ll wait… If you type the equation into Google, it will return the answer to you.

Search multiple items at once: When one just isn’t enough… using OR between two different words or phrases will search for both items at once and will return anything that contains either or both of the two.

Not sure what you’re even looking for? Describe it! Let’s say you feel ill, but you have no idea what you could be suffering from… it makes finding a remedy pretty difficult.  Try typing out your symptoms – Google will return sites that contain those phrases, and chances are pretty good it will point you in the right direction.

Don’t worry about spelling: Google is more than happy to suggest that you’ve made a typo at the top of your results page. This is also a good spellchecker for you when Word isn’t available.

Google also gives you money and unit conversions! Going on a trip abroad and want to know exactly how far a walk 5 kilometers is? Type in Convert 5 Kilometers to miles.

…and that’s only half of the list provided to us by our friends at Life Hack. Take a look at the rest of them and don’t be afraid to give them a try!

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