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Advanced Searching with Google

  • June 2, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Last month we looked at some basic but often overlooked search tips using Google. This month we cover ten advanced things that will help you search more effectively.

10 ways to refine your searches

1. You don’t need to use capitals, nor do you need to use the word AND – every time you add a space Google reads it as AND. So, a search for cats dogs would actually give you cats and dogs. However, the operator OR overrides AND and asks Google to give you either cats or dogs. The latter is like doing two searches at the same time.

2. If you want to search for badminton, but don’t want results that include reference to the Olympics, your search criteria should be badminton -Olympics (note the dash, or minus sign, immediately before the word Olympics). This works well for the main results, but Olympics’ images and news items may still be included when searching Google Images or Google News.

3. If you want Google to search for a specific phrase, just place it between quote marks e.g. “16 GB flashdrives” – Google will only give you results to pages containing that exact phrase.

4. Using the asterisk as a wild card. If you search for “a * in the hand is worth * in the bush” Google will find all references to “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” This can be handy when you know part of the name of a book, a song, a report etc.

5. If you want the definition of a word, simply use the word define in the search box followed by what you want a definition for. No need for a colon.

6. If you want your search terms to be contained within the title of a webpage, use intitle: i.e. intitle:entrepreneur small business tips. In this case Google will search for any of the words in the title of a web page. If you want all of your search words included add “all” to the phrase, as in: allintitle:entrepreneur small business tips.

7. Using the same principle explained above you can tell Google to find your results within a URL: inurl: or allinurl:.

8. Furthermore, if you want your search criteria to be found within the main body of a website then use: intext: or allintext:

9. If you are searching for something between two numbered parameters, for example you are considering purchasing a printer, use: printer $200..$500 and Google will give you results for printers costing between those two prices. This works for years, or any other form of number.

10. If you find a useful site, for example the Canada Revenue Agency website, and would like to find similar sites, simply put the word “related” followed by a colon in front of its URL, i.e. This will give you other websites offering similar or allied information.

On a personal note one useful Google feature is if you want a conversion say from pounds to kilograms, simply put: 120 pounds in kilograms in the search box and the answer will pop right up (it’s 54.43 by the way!). This works with anything you want to convert – try it for yourself!

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