How to ‘Google search’ effectively


Google is one of the most popular search engines as we know it. Over the years it has worked well towards improving and optimizing its search algorithm so that users would get the most relevant search results. But sometimes we may not get the best hits for our Google searches. Or we may not get the most relevant results in the front pages. Here are some tricks that might help you avoid such situations and ‘google search’ effectively-

Basic Tips

  • Google search is case Insensitive. eg. Results for searching FoX and fOX are the same.
  • Google search ignores common words like I, where, a, an, the, this, that, about, etc.
  • Punctuations are ignored unless they give meaning. eg. C# or $50
  • Be concise and use appropriate keywords that you want to see in your results.

Using special characters/symbols:

  • Quotation mark(“”)/Plus(‘+’): These characters act as strict search markers i.e. anything mentioned in quotation marks will be searched as is and all results will include it without order change. eg. Google searching big “brown fox” or big +brown +fox will return all results containing the phrase ‘brown fox’.
  • Minus(‘-‘): Minus excludes the word following ‘-‘ sign in the results. eg. Google searching big brown -fox would return results ignoring fox as if you searched only for big brown. NOTE: Use of ‘-‘ as hyphen doesn’t ignore the word following it. eg. Searching big brown-fox would return results WITHOUT ignoring fox.
  • Asterix(‘*’): This is used to find all information relevant to the word following it. eg. Searching *fox would return results relevant to fox like Fox News, Fox Business, etc.

Using Operators:

  • ‘OR’ operator: Using ‘OR’ between two words will return results containing either of those words. eg. Searching population 1996 OR 2011 will return results for population 1996 and population 2011.
  • Pipeline (‘|’): This functions exactly as ‘OR’ operator. eg. Searching population 1996|2011 will return results for population 1996 and population 2011.
  • Range operator(‘..’): Includes results containing numbers from the range of numbers specified. eg. Searching population 2001..2010 will return results for population 2001, population 2002, population 2003,…population 2010. Using only one number allows to set the that number as lowest or highest number. eg. population ..2010 will return all results for 2010,2009,2008,etc and population 2001.. will return all results for 2001,2002,2003,etc

Using Filter Prefixes:

  • filetype: This specifies the filetype to search in. eg. Searching brown fox filetype:pdf would return all pdfs containing ‘brown fox’.
  • define: This will return popular dictionary results for the word that follows. eg: Searching define:verbatim returns results from, merriam-webster, Wikipedia, Oxford, etc
  • site: This restricts the search to a particular website. eg. Searching android would show all android related posts and pages on this blog.
  • cache: This shows the last cached version of the website specified. this may be useful when you really want to get some information from a website that is down. eg. returns the last cached version of this blog.

NOTE: DO NOT use space after ‘:’ of the above prefixes else it may not work as expected.

If this article helped you ‘Google Search’ better, let us know in the comments section below and share it with your friends.



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