Google Search: Tips & Tricks Part 1
I was reminded recently while doing some research, just how powerf ul Google Search can be. I had
f orgotten the kinds of things you can do with search, and how it can help you with so many tasks.
It was while I was exploring this f antastic blog Traf f ic Generation Caf e (f rom Ana Hof f man – if you don’t
know it and want to learn about traf f ic go there now). Ana had a great post on f inding blogs to comment on
and gave the specif ic Google search queries you would use to f ind them. Isn’t she great! Here is one
example she gave
site:.com inurl:blog “post a comment” -”comments closed” -”you must be logged in” “ADD YOUR
Looks like Chinese to you? Don’t worry we will go through the dif f erent parts below.
Once I tried this search out and realised what I had been missing, I took another “long hard look” at Google
Search. Then, being the self ish person that I am, I decided to share what I f ound with you all. (Not that this
stuf f isn’t easily f indable via Google, but I f igured some of you might not have looked :>)
WARNING: The f ollowing is tedious and boring – BUT, take 15min to learn a f ew of these, try them out and
your searching will never be the same again – guaranteed!! If it is not true, write to me and complain. Really.
Do it. I stand behind my guarantees!!
Google Search Shortcuts, Symbols
In this f irst section I will explain most of what Ana
used in her search terms above. At the end of
this section you should understand what she did
and repeat it f or your own searches. Yes, you will
be a search ninja!!
Search for an exact word or phrase
Say you are looking f or a specif ic phrase, you
can f orce Google to look f or this by putting it
between quotes. If you don’t Google uses their
algorithm to look f or similar things, using their
best guess. This sometimes leads to some
Search: “I want this exact phrase in my results”
** use this power with caution, as it will exclude
Exclude a specific word
If you want to exclude a specif ic word f rom your
search results, you just need to add a minus and
the word (eg. -not_this_word) to the list of search criteria you have chosen. Then results with that word will
not be shown.
Eg. If you are searching f or blogging sites but don’t want blogs about “camels”
Search: “blog” -camel
Search within a particular website
If you have a particular website in mind, and want to search f or posts on a specif ic topic this would be your
best bet. Use the “site” keyword.
Eg. If you want to search the ever popular quicksprout blog f or SEO posts you would do
Search: site:quicksprout.com “SEO”
Searching inside a webpage / title /url / anchor
Using similar techniques to the site above, you can search f or specif ic words in specif ic places on a
webpage. The f ollowing are the options you have and what they do:
intitle – searches in the page title (note: title is not see in the page itself , but is used in SEO)
inurl – searches in the pages url
inanchor – searches in the text used f or links
intext – inside the main text of the webpage
Search for similar words
Say you are searching f or pages with this word, or words that begin with that you could use the asterisk (*)
This would give you results f or myword and any words that begin with myword.
Another example of this is to look f or a phrase that has various options in a specif ic position. Google calls
this “f illing in the blank” searches.
Search: The man in the * sweater was sitting on the *
Searching for Two options
If you have a search that has two (or more) options you can do it like this
Search: red OR blue sweater
In Google’s examples they also demonstrate that you can search f or two specif ic phrases, which could
also be quite handy.
Search: “the man on the bike” OR “the woman in the car”
Search for a number range
This is a search you might not use too of ten, but is handy when you are working with numbers. Say you
want to f ind something in a price range, or between two values. Here we use two dots between two
Find very cheap German cars!!
Search: Porsche $50..$100
You can also use it to give upper (two dots bef ore a number) and lower ranges (two dots af ter).
This would f ind Mustangs up to $1000.
Search: Mustang ..$1000
Tip: Use only one number with the two periods to indicate an upper maximum or a lower minimum.
Search for a file type
This one may seem a little strange, but if you were searching f or a pdf (say a users manual) or a power
point (ppt) f ile you can do that with the “f iletype” keyword
Search: how to use an umbrella f iletype: pdf
Google Advanced Search Filters
Google also of f ers an Advanced Search Page where you can
tweak other search options and do so more easily.
The f ollowing are the values they currently of f er as alternatives
f or the above hand entered options
all these words
this exact word or phrase
any of these words
none of these words
numbers ranging f rom
So you have the choice in many cases of using the “shortcut”
words in your search (as above) or coming to this page to do
the work f or you.
Other options you can use, which are best done f rom this page only are:
Last updated date
Site or domain
Term Appearing (Where the search terms appear on the page)
Saf eSearch f ilter turned on or of f
Usage rights (related to licensing)
Search is a powerf ul tool, you have all been told that. But now you can see why!!
Learn a f ew power shortcuts to enhance your search-f illed-lives. It really is worth it.
Don’t f orget you can also use the advanced search page to help you achieve almost the same thing AND
f urther tweak your searches with even more f ilters!
This is only part 1. Yes, there is more to come. Google search is now an ecosystem and can do so many
things f or you. Stay tuned f or Part 2 where will will explore more search tips and tricks to make your lif e
easier and help you to become the search ninja you had always dreamed of becoming!
Hi, I’m Ashley. I blog about all things web, blogging and social media on Mad Lemmings.
I have over 12 years of experience working with companies on developing websites and web applications. I
want to share my experience and make your lif e easier at the same time.
Together we will learn how to unleash the web’s power by creating your own website, whether it is f or
business or pleasure, prof essional or hobby, blog or business website. We will demystif y some of the
things you need to work on a website. Solve many problems in as simple a f ashion as possible. All in all, this
will be the place you come to f ind the inf ormation you need to improve or f ix your website or blog.