The most popular search engine on the web, Google is used by millions of people every day across the globe. Everyone has their own reasons; some use it to complete their school work, some for research, some for entertainment and so forth. But what most people don’t realize is how much more powerful they can make their Google searches with just a few simple tweaks.
In this article, I’ll show you some of the best search tricks (not those advanced & hard ones) that you can easily use on a daily basis to get better search results out of Google. So, let’s roll.
Google Phrase Search
If you want Google to return your search as a complete phrase, in the exact order and proximity that you placed it in the search box, then you need to you put your search parameters in quotes (“”), as it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase.
“tom dick harry”
In the example above, if i had not used the quotes, Google would look for tom, dick, and harry regardless of where the other two words are located in the returned pages. But, the quotes now forces every result returned by Google to show all the words next to each other just like you see them above.
The only case in which quotes are helpful is if you want every word to appear as you typed it in the search box, so they’re useful when you are searching for something specific such as people, quotes, lyrics, and so forth.
Google Negative Search
A negative search allows you to exclude things from the results. Not much effort is required, all you have to do is put a minus (-) symbol before whatever it is that you want to exclude.
windows -OS -microsoft
You can see above that we’re looking for results about windows, but since Windows is also a name of an operating system, we want to make sure there aren’t any results that talk about, Windows OS, or Microsoft.
Google Site Search
A Google site search means that you’re limiting the results to a specific website or top-level domain.
site:youtube.com funny videos
A search for funny videos across the entire web might be extremely overwhelming, so running the search on a single site like youtube.com, forces all the results to include only the pages found on this site.
Of course, this only comes in handy if you want to look for something on a specific site, but it’s extremely useful for doing just that. You can go on and use Google’s advanced search options to further narrow down the results.
Of course, you can include the other search tricks mentioned above for more specific results, such as this:
site:youtube.com “funny videos” cats
You’ve probably used this hack before but never realized it’s actually a purposeful function. Just put the word define in front of any word to have Google give you the instantaneous definition.
Usually, you wouldn’t need the word define, just putting the search (which is catatonia in this case) word into Google search box without anything else would be enough because most single-word searches are for finding the definition. However, if the Google dictionary result doesn’t show at the top, use the word define to force it to show up. This can save time and effort so you don’t have to click a bunch of bothersome links.
Google search can actually do math for you. It includes a built-in calculator that you can use for a variety of calculations, from basic ones to some more difficult ones.
Here’s an example where Google can quickly tell us that around sixteen kilometers is equal to ten miles:
10 miles to kilometers
We learn with this one that 4 cups is the same as one quart:
quarts to cups
This one returns the answer 85.5628424025.
Temperature conversions are supported, too:
75 c to f
If it’s a complex problem with operators that you don’t know the shorthand for or that aren’t on your keyboard, type “calculator” for the full tool. It comes with buttons like Rad, Inv, e, pi, EXP, cos, sin, tan, log, and others.
Google Spell Checker
Some of us (especially me) struggle to spell words without a spell check, and since not all tools that we work with have an automatic spelling helper, it’s nice to have a built-in spell checker on Google.
To have Google help you with spelling something, type the word the way you think it’s spelled, let’s say you search “ridiculouess” Google will automatically assume you mean to search for “ridiculousness.” If by chance your misspelling was intentional, Google gives you the option to search for the misspelled term instead.
Another way to use this tip is to type but don’t press Enter…
Let the suggestions pop up as you type to see how Google thinks it should be spelled. You’d be surprised how well it works.
‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ Button
The Google home page includes two buttons: Google Search and I’m Feeling Lucky. What the first button does is clear, but the second might not be.
I’m Feeling Lucky is a quick way to skip the Google Search results and jump right to the first one from the list, without ever having to select it. For example, typing youtube into Google and then hitting the button will open youtube.com because that’s the first result on Google.
Use this Google Search hack enough and you’ll save loads of time.