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Want to search Google beyond typing in search terms? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you out!

Basic Google Search Operators

OR

allows you to basically do multiple searches in one. Also, | works in place of the OR operator.

~

The Tilde will bring back synonyms of the search terms.

site:

This operator narrows your results to a specific domain. You also have the power to get results from only .gov, .org, or any other with this “site:.gov”.

link:

If you want to see where certain links are for a domain on the web, this operator can help. It has such powerful potential, but Google only give you a sample of the full results. Yahoo’s version is  more thorough, “linkdomain:”, and Bing’s version is “linkfromdomain:”.

*

Adding an asterisk within a search tells Google ‘I don’t know what goes here’. For example, “Take a vacation at * “. Or maybe you don’t know all the words to a song’s lyrics so you search “Here’s my * call me *“.

..

Two periods between numbers lets you and a range to your search. “Shoes $25..$40”, “cars $15k..$17k”, or you can just have a lower or upper limit “Wig ..$30”.

 

Advanced Google Search Options

Google has created a nice feature that lets you easily use most of the above mentioned operators without having to remember them. For those out there that want the flexibility of adding the search operator of choice, we’ll discuss a few more of them that aren’t included in the advanced search tool, just incase you were looking for a comprehensive list of Google search operators.

allintitle: (and also intitle:)

Searches only for sites with the given word(s) in the page title. “Intitle:” is like search for a string of words without  “quotes”. Note: in blog search you can use inblogtitle: and inposttitle:

allintext: (and also intext:)

This operator searches only for sites where the given word or phrase are in the text of the page.

allinanchor: (and also inanchor:)

Another useful research tool allowing you to find a word or phrase that is in anchor text on sites.

inanchor search operator

allinurl (and also inurl:)

Will return URL results. This can be helpful now that most long URLs are text based instead of the endless strings of numbers and gibberish that once dominated the web.

allinpostauthor: (and also inpostauthor:)

This is exclusive to a Blog Search, letting you find posts by a specific author. With some authors publishing on many various blogs, the operator helps bring all their work to you quickly.

related:

Google used to return results with the “find sites related to:” link. Since this is gone, and if you liked that feature, you can still find related sites with this operator.

info:website

This returns a nice list of options to view about a domain:

info search operator

loc:placename

Rather than using this operator, I tend to do a map search while viewing a certain part of a city/state. If you’re a pizzaholic like me, you’d probably search for “pizza loc:Fort Collins”. This will return slighty different results then if you just searched “pizza in Fort Collins”. The main difference with “loc:” is that paid results disappear.

define:phrase

If you search: “define:masticate” it ends up returning almost the same as if you searched “define masticate”.

daterange:

Not nessesary at all, as Google has added a date range filter on the left side of all search results. This operator required the use of Julian dates, which complicates its use making you have to calculate Julian dates here.

source:

This only works in Google News search. If we look for: “Mitt Romney source:Washington Post”, I think you know what will happen.

location:

Also for News searches, it functions the same way as “loc:” in regular search queries.

filetype:

If you wanted to find PDFs with reference to Spark Logix this is how you’d do it:

filetype search operator

movie:

I bet you can figure out that this operator is pointless, much like “define:”.

weather:

Another operator that isn’t necessary. Results don’t vary much if you just search “weather in Fort Collins”.

stocks:

Add the ticker symbol that you wish to receive information on, for example: “stocks:GE” and you can watch their stock drop because of poor Olympic coverage.

cache:

Another feature that used to be listed in search results but has disappeared. If you like to see what Google has in their cache for certain site, you still can.

map:

Adding this operator forces Google to produce map-based results.

Now that you have all of these operators in your arsenal, using them in combination with each other is where they become quite powerful. Test them out, and enjoy more focused searching. Google search algorithms have become very good at predicting what you were searching for, but with these operators, you can get exactly what you wanted, if it’s out there.

[schema type="person" name="Ben Heath" orgname="Spark Logix Studios" url="http://www.sparklogix.com/author/benheath/" email="ben@sparklogix.com" ]

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