Different Ways to Search on Google

Here are some useful tips that allow you to do searches on Google in a different and more efficient manner.

Searching within sites

Wish to search for web pages within a site that contain specific key words? Just type site:sitename key word – eg: site:mayoclinic.org leg pain will give you results for leg pain only from within the Mayo Clinic web site.

Searching for a word/term in title or URL?

Wish to get web pages that have a specific key word in the URL or in the page title. Use the following operators, and use double quotes where you wish the entire phrase to appear in the title or URL. Type the following into the search box.

intitle:”personality types” will return web pages that have the exact term in the title

inurl:”personality types” will return web pages that have the exact term in the URL (web page address)

Searching for whole phrases

Wish to search for containing the entire phrase and not just a few words within the phrase? Type the entire phrase within double quotes in the search box. If you type the phrase “Abraham Lincoln’s last words” along with the double quotes into Google, you will only those pages that contain the exact phrase. It will not, for instance, return pages that contain the words Abraham Lincoln but not the words ‘last words’.

In fact, when I searched on the above phrase, with quotes, I got just 8 results. Without quotes, I got 36,000! That is, just 8 out of the 36000 results returned by Google had the exact phrase I was looking for. For all I know, the rest of the pages might have been pretty irrelevant to my search.

Just imagine the power of using the double quote to increase the efficiency of your search.

Looking for web pages that MUST HAVE some key words?

If you are looking for web sites that MUST HAVE a key word within the phrase that you have typed, use the + operator.

Eg: Chennai travel spots +children . This search will return only those pages that compulsorily have the word children in it. If you had not used the + operator, Google search could have returned some pages that have the other key words but not children.

Update: While I used to use this operator quite often, I understand Google does not support this operator last few years after they launched Google+, in order to avoid conflicts with the + sign in their brand name, I believe. Not a smart move by Google, the + operator is/was a very useful one to have.

Looking for web pages that MUST NOT HAVE some key words?

And then, there are times you DO NOT WISH Google to return pages that have certain key words in the search results. Such a need usually arises when the key word you are searching for could have multiple meanings/contexts, and hence you could see many results unrelated to your search.

Use the ‘-‘ operator to get results without a particular key word. For instance the search term  Napoleon actor -emperor will ensure that I get results that are more relevant to the south Indian actor Napoleon rather than to the renowned emperor Napoleon!

To search for a phrase with missing words

Let’s say you are searching for the Frank Sinatra’s famous song that starts with the lines “I have been a rover, I have walked alone” but don’t remember all the words – perhaps you remember just the first three words (I have been) and the last two (walked alone).

Use the * operator here as follows: Type I have been * walked alone into Google and it will return the song with all the words included in it. Essentially, you include a * to represent word/s or even numbers that are not sure about, at the right places.

To search for a page that links to a certain page

Wish to see which other sites / web pages have provided a link back to your web page (or any other web page, for that matter)? Use the Link: operator, as follows – link:url. Eg: Typing link:cnn.com into the search box will give a list of web sites that have provided a link back to cnn.com .

Search for related sites

Wish to know sites that are similar to a specific site? Type in related:site domain name, and you will get it. Example: typing related:time.com into the search box will give you sites similar to Time magazine.

Wish to know a quick summary of what a site is all about?

Use the info: operator for this. Example: typing info:google.com into the search box will give you a link that contains in its meta description itself what Google is all about. “Search the world’s information, including webpages, images, videos and more.”

To know what a site looked like when google crawled it last

You have added something to your web page but not sure whether Google had crawled it. How can you get to know this? Easy. Just type cache:sitename (Eg: cache:solarmango.com ) into the search box and voila!

To search for a specific type of file

Looking for a specific type of file? Type the file extension along with the word filetype in addition to the key words.

Example: Search term Global warming estimates filetype xls will return only results that have the relevant content in the xls (spreadsheet) format.

Search within a range of numbers

This will be a useful hack for shopaholics especially. Wish to find cameras in the price range $100-200? Just type into the search box camera price $100..$200

To check for weather of a city

Simple. Type the city name and the word weather after that. Example: New York weather

To know the definition of a specific word

Wish to understand the definition of a word or phrase? Just type into the search box ‘define: word’. Eg. define:troglodyte ; define:cat’s whisker

To check the status of a flight

Just type the flight number (Eg: BA 36) into the search box. That simple!

Unit conversations

Don’t sweat it out trying to include too many search words. Wish to convert Euros to Dollars? Just type the 5 euros to dollars and you will get the answer, and even a chart of how the conversion rate had trended in the past few weeks!

Math calculations

For any math calculations, just type in the calculation in the search box the same way you would type it into a calculator box. Eg: 55/11 or 17^2 or log 10.

Some good links:

  • Google tricks that will change the way you search – Link
  • How to search on Google – from Google itself
  • 31 advanced Google search tips – Link
  • 20 tips to search Google efficiently – Link
  • 36 Google search tips you might not know about – Link
  • 10 ways to use Google that most people do not know about – Link

Some interesting videos


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