Google Search Modifiers Everyone Should Be Using

You probably use Google several times a day, whether it’s to find nearby restaurants or to find answers to common questions. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, Google will usually find it for you. Some hidden tricks can help you out if you’re looking to use Google for work-related search

Quotation marks

The name of an author, a long phrase, or song lyrics may be what you’re looking for. Search engine results are sometimes limited to a few words, but not the whole phrase. Make sure to put quotation marks around the phrase if you want Google to only show results that match it.

For example, if you are looking for the band Dr. Dog, putting the band name in quotes (“Dr.Dog”) will eliminate more than 99% of the search results.

Dashes to exclude misleading words

Occasionally, a single word can cause havoc with your search results. It’s possible to remove an entire word from the search results by using a dash (-).

Example: canyon -grand

Google’s tabs

The fact that Google is much more than just a text search engine is easy to overlook, but it’s true. Among the services offered by Google are its images and maps services as well as its books and publications service (Google Books). You can switch between these modes by clicking on the tabs on your browser’s top-right corner.

A tilde to include common synonyms

Are you looking for a way to broaden your search? Tilde before a word will help you find results that relate to that term.

Example: coding ~class (You’ll find the results for coding colleges, classes, courses, etc.)

Particular file type

This is useful when searching for documents on the Internet. Typing just “filetype: pdf” at the end of your search term will help you find all PDFs. This format is also used for PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and Excel sheets.

Example: climate change report filetype: pdf

Find references to a specific page

This is a little-known trick, but it can help you find pages that link to a particular page. Just use the format “link:(insert link here)” to find links in a college essay or any other type of academic writing.

Example: link:the-daily-story.com

You can use an asterisk for words you can’t recall.

There are times when you’re looking for lyrics to a song and you can’t recall a couple of words from the song. So, here’s where the asterisk comes into play. Your knowledge gaps will be taken into account by Google when it comes to your search results.

Example: blinding *

Find websites that are similar to what you’re looking for

Everyone should be aware of this search trick: The “related:(site address)” search term can be used if you’ve found a website that you like and would like to find more sites that are similar to it.

Example: related:the-daily-story.com

Perform site-specific searches directly from the Google search engine

The search function on most websites isn’t very good. However, because Google indexes web content in any case, you can rely on Google to search through websites with confidence. The next time you want to search for a website, try using the term “site:(website link)”.

Example: site:the-daily-story.com

Results from two specific locations

What if you wanted to search for two terms? Think of Netflix or Disney as an example of a service you might want to use. With the pipe symbol (the vertical bar), you can tell Google to choose between this “or” that, which is essentially what it does.

Example: Netflix | Disney

Lookup within a specified number range

For online research, you may find it helpful to limit your search to a specific time period. You can search between two numbers by using two dots.

Example: academic studies 1950..1980

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