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November 24, 2015 // 8:00 AM

How to Search on Google: 31 Advanced Google Search Tips

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If you’re like me, you probably use Google many times a day. But chances are, unless you're a technology geek, you probably still use Google in its simplest form. If your current use of Google is limited to typing in a few words and changing your query until you find what you’re looking for, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way -- and it’s not hard to learn.

On the other hand, even if you are a technology geek and can use Google like the best of them already, I still suggest you bookmark this article of advanced Google search tips. Then, you’ll then have the tips on hand when you're ready to pull your hair out in frustration watching a neophyte repeatedly type in basic queries in a desperate attempt to find something.

The following advanced Google search tips are based on my own experience and things that I actually find useful. I’ve kept the descriptions of the search tips intentionally terse, as you’re likely to grasp most of these simply by looking at the example from Google anyway.

For even more Google tips, download our free guide here. 

How to Search on Google 

 
Here's an overview of some of the most useful Google search tricks. You'll be an expert Google search-er in no time.
 

Step 1) Explicit Phrase

Let's say you're searching on Google for content about inbound marketing. Instead of just typing inbound marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.

Example Search: "inbound marketing"

Step 2) Exclude Words

Let's say you want to search for content about inbound marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising. To do this, simply use the - sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

Example Search: inbound marketing -advertising

Step 3) This OR That

By default, when you conduct a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you're looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be capitalized).

Example Search: inbound marketing OR advertising

Step 4) Words in the Text

If you want to find a webpage where all the terms you're searching for appear in the text of that page (but not necessarily beside each other), type in allintext: followed immediately by words or phrases.

Example Search: allintext:vermont ski house lake

Step 5) Words in the Text + Title, URL etc.

If you want to find a webpage where one term appears in the text of that page and another term appears elsewhere on the page, like the title or URL, then type in that first term followed by intext: followed immediately by the other term.

Example Search: neil diamond intext:red sox

Step 6) Words in the Title

Want to find a webpage with certain words contained in the title (but not necessarily beside each other)? Type in allintitle: followed immediately by words or phrases.

Example Search: allintitle:wine club

Step 7) Words in the TItle + Text, URL, etc.

Want to find a webpage where one term appears in the title of that page and another term appears elsewhere on the page, like in the text or the URL? Type in that first term followed by intitle: immediately followed by the other term.

Example Search: flu shot intitle:advice

Step 8) Words in the URL

If you want to find pages with your search query mentioned in the URL, type allinurl: immediately followed by your search query.

Example Search: allinurl:hubspot blog

Step 9) How to Search Within a Website

Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the site:somesite.com modifier. (Read this blog post to learn how to do this in more detail.)

Example Search: site:www.smallbusinesshub.com "inbound marketing"

Step 10) Related Search

If you want to find new websites with similar content to a website you already know of, use the related:somesite.com modifier.

Example Search: related:visual.ly

related-google-search.png

Step 11) A Page That Links to Another Page

Let's say you want to search for every website that cites a BuzzFeed article on their website. To do this, use the link: command, immediately followed by the name of a page. Google will give you all pages that link to BuzzFeed's official website. The more specific the URL is, the fewer, more pointed results you'll get.

Example Search: link:buzzfeed

Step 12) Similar Words and Synonyms

Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but also want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the ~ in front of the word.

Example Search: "inbound marketing" ~professional

Step 13) Word Definitions

If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the define: command. You can listen to the word's pronunciation by pressing the megaphone icon.

Search Example: define:plethora

google-word-definitions.png

Step 14) Missing Words

Ever forgotten a word or two from a specific phrase, song lyric, movie quote, or something else? You can use an asterisk* as a wildcard, which can help you find the missing word in a phrase.

Example Search: much * about nothing

Step 15) News in a Specific Location

If you're looking for news related to a specific location, you can use the location: command to search Google News for stories coming from that location.

Search Example: star wars location:london

Step 16) Specific Document Types

If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier filetype:. For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to inbound marketing.

Example Search: "inbound marketing" filetype:ppt

Step 17) Translations

Want to translate a simple word or phrase from one language to another? No need to go to a translation website. Just search translate [word] to [language].

Example Search: translate krankenwagen to english

Step 18) Phone Listing

Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number, and you don’t know who it is. If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.

Example Search: phonebook:617-555-1212

(Note: The number in this example doesn't work. You’ll have to use a real number to get any results.)

Step 19) Area Code Lookup

If all you need to do is to look up the area code for a phone number, just enter the three-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.

Example Search: 617

Step 20) Zip Code Lookup

If you need to look up the zip code for an address, simply search for the rest of the address, including town or city name and state, province, or country. It'll return results with an area code (if applicable), 

Example Search: 25 First St., Cambridge, MA

Step 21) Numeric Ranges

This is a rarely used but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods). This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

Example Search: president 1940..1950

Step 22) Stock (Ticker Symbol)

Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term, and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumbnail chart for the stock.

Example Search: GOOG

Step 23) Calculator

The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression into Google.

Search Example: 48512 * 1.02

Step 24) Tip Calculator

Along with a normal calculator, Google has a built-in tip calculator. Just search tip calculator and you can adjust the bill, tip %, and number of people splitting it.

Search Example: tip calculator

 google-tip-calculator.png

Step 25) Timer

Don't have a timer handy? Google has you covered. Just type in an amount of time + the word "timer," and the countdown will begin automatically

Search Example: 

 google-timer.png

Search Example: 20 min timer

Step 26) Stopwatch

Search "stopwatch" and it'll bring up a stopwatch for you to start when you're ready.

Search Example: stopwatch 

Step 27) Weather

Next time you're looking for quick weather stats or a forecast for a certain area, search for weather followed by a location. Google will give you both before the first search results.

Search Example: weather cambridge ma

weather-google-search.png

Step 28) Sunrise & Sunset Times

If you're curious when the sun will rise and set that day at a specific location, do a simple Google search with the word sunrise or sunset along with the location name.

Search Example: sunrise acadia

Step 29) Flight Statuses

If you type in the airline and airplane number into Google, it will tell you the flight information, status, and other helpful information.

Search Example: BA 181

google-flight-status.png

Step 30) Sports Scores & Schedules

Want to know the latest sports scores and future schedules of your favorite teams or match-ups? Search a single team name or two team names and Google will use Google Sports to spit out scores and schedules before the first search results.

Search Example: manchester united

Step 31) Comparing Food

Believe it or not, if you're ever curious how two types of (fairly generic) foods compare with one another, you can do a quick Google search to see how they differ in calories, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, and other nutrients. 

Search Example: pizza vs broccoli

What are you favorite Google search tips? Share any that I've missed in the comments section below.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2007 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Topics: SEO Productivity

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