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Google accounts for nearly 86% of the searches happening online. Thanks to the spread of smartphones, searching for something is literally in the palm of our hands. Google can tell us time, weather forecast, translate languages, give directions, define words, and much more. When was the last time you had an argument with a friend, only to be settled by Googling for the right answer? For most of us, Google is an indefinite part of our lives; however, the question is: Are we using Google to its true potential?
Well, you may think you are good at Googling, but you would be surprised to know how extensive Google is and how many vital features you aren’t even aware of. In this article, we are going to guide you on how to enhance your Google search skills on top of sharing 32 amazing tips and tricks to help you with your daily searches. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Google is more than a simple search engine; in fact, it has become a source of truth for everything. Whether you’re a student looking for an answer to a difficult assessment, a businessman conducting research to see what your competitors are up to, or simply a homemaker looking for food recipes for their family, Google offers multiple search techniques which cater to your everyday needs enhancing your productivity and efficiency.
For simple queries, Google provides answers in a pretty straightforward way. However, if you’re looking for an answer to a difficult question, googling can be a rather frustrating task. Perhaps, you’re not using the right keywords, or you’re not clicking on the correct search result. Either way, you wonder whether you’re using the search engine the right way or not. Let’s take a look at how you can significantly improve your Googling skills and get the results you want.
Although a majority of us use Google on a daily basis, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the search engine. If you’ve ever struggled to get the result you want or just want to improve your ‘Googling’ skills, below are a few tips and tricks on how to use Google search effectively:
Make sure to take advantage of Google tabs effectively. On every search result page, a few tabs appear at the top. Typically, these are web, images, news, and more. These tabs help you refine your search results to the type of search you need. Use the Image tab if you’re looking for images, or use the News tab to look for recent or fresh articles regarding a particular topic. It’s pretty simple, and most people are already using tabs to refine their search results. If you use tabs efficiently, you can dramatically cut the search time by filtering your results and finding precisely what you’re looking for.
Google allows you to set time constraints in your results if you’re looking for information from a specific time frame. This can include articles about history or finding information about a certain case in the news. You can use Google’s search tools on desktop and mobile to filter your search results accordingly.
If you’re on a desktop, simply click on tools under the magnifying glass icon. Here you’ll find a drop-down with ‘any time’ selected. Click on the drop-down to display a list of options to help you narrow results to the past hour, day, week, month, or year. You can also select a custom range to enter a specific time frame. For mobile users, you’ll find this option by scrolling to the end of the search types and selecting search tools.
Still finding your search results to be vague? Well, you can always use the ‘Advanced Search’ feature. From your search results page, click on the ‘gear’ icon at the top right corner of the screen, and select “Advanced Search”.
This allows you to enter specific keywords or phrases in specific fields instead of using modifiers. You can narrow your search results by region, language, term location, usage rights, file type, explicit content, last update, domain, etc. If you’re looking for a particular image, you can narrow your search by image size, colour, aspect ratio, and image type.
On a mobile device, you can’t use the “Advanced Search” feature; however, you can narrow your image search through filters. Using the slider icon at the top of your image search, you can filter by most recent GIF, HD photos, product images, colour, and usage permissions.
When you’re searching for a specific term, you can use quotes around your search query. You can drastically reduce the amount of time and guesswork by using quotes. Basically, using quotes will give you results that contain the entire phrase within the quotes. For example, let’s assume you want to search for “Persian Cat Food”. If you merely search for Persian Cat Food, Google will show results with those three terms in any order. On the other hand, if you type “Persian Cat Food” into the Google search box, you’ll get results for that phrase exactly how you typed it. This technique can be extremely helpful in finding precise information in a timely fashion.
Do you often come across words that spell the same but have different meanings? For example, ‘Apple’ is a fruit. However, Apple is also a brand. If you Google Apple, you might get results for both the fruit and the brand. In this case, you can use a Hyphen to instruct the search engine to exclude content with one of the others. For example, if you search Apple -fruit in the search bar, Google will show results for Apple, but it will disregard any results related to the term ‘fruit’. This technique is helpful in attaining information about something without acquiring information about something else.
There might be times when you want to search for a particular topic on a specific website or a URL. Google allows you to narrow down your search to a particular website or URL if you type your search query in a specific format. The syntax, in this case, is quite simple: blockchain site:iiinigence.com
This will show you results about blockchain, however, on iiinigence.com only. All the irrelevant results will be filtered out. So, if you want to search for a particular keyword on a specific site, this is the shortcut you can use.
This Google search technique is a little tricky to understand, but is very useful for those who need it. Rather than finding a single page, you can search for ones that link to a specific one. Consider it this way: if you want to find blogs that cited a particular HackerNoon article, you can use this trick. The syntax will be: link: hackernoon.com
This will give you all the pages that link to the official website of HackerNoon. You can type in any URL you want. The more specific you are with your search query, the better and fewer results you will get. For instance, if you search link: https://hackernoon.com/wtf-is-the-blockchain -1da89ba19348, Google will display all the pages that link to the famous Blockchain article on HackerNoon.
See, if you go with a more specific URL, you will get fewer but finer results. Although this technique is only useful to a small number of individuals, it can be very helpful for those looking for academic citations or for SEO experts in link-building campaigns. In fact, some SEO experts use this technique to find broken links on other websites as well.
Have you ever tried searching for a song with half-baked lyrics? If yes, then this technique is definitely for you. Including an asterisk in your Google search query creates a placeholder that gives an indication to the search engine that this phrase can be anything. For example, let’s take a close look at this syntax: I tried *so far* matter
This may appear strange or may not make any sense to a regular person. However, Google will look for that phrase knowing the terms inside the asterisks can be anything. If you search this query, Google will give you the search results for Linkin Park’s famous song “In The End”. You can use this technique when you’re looking for a certain saying or a song, and you don’t have full information regarding it.
Imagine you have a favourite go-to website for buying clothes; however, it’s getting a little boring, and you want to bring a little change to your wardrobe. This is the trick that you can use to discover similar websites. The syntax will be: related:amazon.com
You won’t find links to Amazon products through this search. Instead, you’ll be directed to similar online retailer websites, such as Best Buy, Etsy, Barnes & Nobles, etc. In the business world, you can use this technique to find competitors within your industry, check what they are up to, and take inspiration. SEO experts use this technique for link-building campaigns as well as for competitor analysis and keyword research purposes.
On most browsers, Google supports “reverse” image searches. This feature allows you to submit an image file and search for information about it. For instance, if you upload a photo of the Mount Cook, Google will recognise it and provide you with information about the mountain in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. It can also identify works of art, lead you to websites where the image exists, and show you images that are “visually similar.” To use this feature, simply drag and drop an image into the search bar on Google Images. You can also upload an image or input an image’s URL by clicking the camera icon.
With the map: operator, only websites that show a map of the location you’re looking for are included in the results, which can be helpful for research purposes. In a similar vein, you can use the location: operator to define a specific location for your search results. Most importantly, it can also give you directions to your desired locations from your current location. When it comes to destinations, the “to” operator can be used to organise trips for any mode of transportation. It gives you route options for going from one location to another.
Most importantly, if you are planning on travelling to another city, you can simply type the city name and add the word “directions” next to it to get a route from your current location to the destination city. For example, if you are in Auckland and want to travel to Hamilton, simply search for “Hamilton Directions”, and Google will display all the best possible routes for you. You can use the same feature to get directions for any particular place within a city as well.
Google is slowly becoming a pioneer in accessible and usable design. With the introduction of voice search, it eliminates barriers to using technology for a majority of differently-abled individuals. As a more convenient means of inputting search queries, Google Search now supports voice search, which isn’t limited to mobile devices. You can click on the mic symbol on the right side of the search bar to use this feature. Although it’s a work in progress, it allows users to simply input their thoughts using voice to get the results they want.
If you didn’t know, Google can actually perform calculations for you. It’s a very versatile feature, and it can be used in diverse ways. Therefore, it’s a little bit complex to explain it. You will get a better idea of this feature once you use it yourself. In simple words, Google can help you answer basic match questions (such as addition or subtraction) or more challenging ones (such as algebra). Let’s take a look at an example of how to use the feature. Simply type in any math question in the Google search bar, like: 10 * 5 + 5
If you search this on Google, you’ll get 55 as a result. You can try something a little more complex as well. Aside from giving you the solution to your question, Google will also display a calculator that you can use to perform other math operations as well.
Google understands that sometimes merely a single word is not enough to yield the desired results. For this purpose, it allows you to search for multiple words or phrases at the same time. To do this, all you have to do is search for both queries (within quotes) at the same time using the “Or” operator between them. Let’s take a look at an example to help you understand its syntax:
“Best SEO Agency In New Zealand” OR “Best Marketing Company In New Zealand”
By doing this, you are able to find results for both phrases. You can also use this approach while searching for multiple words, like: “Apple” or “Mango”
Another secret technique Google offers is looking for a range of numbers. Perhaps you want to book a hotel within a particular price range or find out how many soccer games were played between the years 2010 to 2020. To do this, simply use two dots before a number to tell Google that you’re seeking a particular range. For example, let’s consider the following syntax: Who has won the La Liga in 2000..2020?
By typing this in the search bar, Google will focus on the La Liga winners from 2000 to 2020. The two dots between two numbers indicate you are not looking for anything before 2000 or after 2020. Similarly, if you type “Smartphone $300..500″ in the Google search bar, you will get results of smartphones within the $300 to $500 price range.
Now let’s take a look at a few general tips and tricks for searching online. For starters, you should try to keep things as simple as possible when searching on Google. This means you don’t necessarily need to be descriptive with your search queries. For example, if you’re looking for a car wash station near your apartment, simply type ‘Car Wash Nearby’ in the search box. Google will detect your location and list down the car wash stations in your immediate vicinity.
You don’t need to be too specific and search for queries like: “Which is the best Car Wash Station in Auckland?” Just keep things simple, and save your time while getting precise results.
Google is pretty good, but it ain’t magic. It does not always give you the results you’re looking for. In this case, keeping it simple is not the best strategy. With Google, the best way is to begin with something simple and build your way upwards to complexity. Let’s consider an example;
This will help you narrow down your search results over time, bringing you fewer and more relevant terms. It isn’t typically recommended to jump from the first try to the third, as you might miss out on what you’re looking for.
In our everyday lives, we often use vocabulary which isn’t exactly used in the digital space by businesses or websites. As websites are owned by businesses, they try to maintain a professional outlook. Consider the following example;
The list can go on forever. All in all, try to use vocabulary, which is commonly used in websites and digital spaces, to get better and more efficient results.
Google matches your search queries with the content available on the web. If you’re searching for a lot of words, your results might be limited. Consequently, you’ll need to spend more time searching for what you’re looking for. So, when you’re searching for something, it is best to use important keywords. For example:
This will help Google find the most relevant search results related to your query. So, make sure you keep it concise and use only the most important keywords.
You can enter a number of commands to get immediate results. Google, like the math example above, can provide you with the information you need right at the top of the search results. This can save you time and effort by eliminating the need to click a bunch of unnecessary links.
Here are a few examples of commands that you can use in Google:
Over time, Google search has become a lot smarter. It is able to detect words, even if you don’t spell them correctly. For example, if you type ‘Never Gonna Gove You Up’, Google will presume you mean ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
If you’re looking for a misspelt term on purpose, Google gives you the option to search for the misspelt word instead. For someone who’s not fluent in writing or not good with spelling, this is a very useful technique to find what you’re looking for. This is true in the case of grammar and capitalisation as well.
The English language uses multiple variations of words to create different meanings. For example, the word ‘Life hack’ is made of two words; Hack and Life. Now, the word “Hack” means a computer programmer bypassing a system or a network (typically, with malafide or bad intention). Meanwhile, the word “life” takes a different connotation, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. When these two are combined together, it means tips and tricks that people use to improve their lives. As you can see, combining words can change the whole context and meaning.
The same case applies to the Google search as well. So, if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, try using different descriptive words. For instance, you can look up “How to install drivers in Windows 10” on the internet when you really meant to search “Troubleshoot Windows 10 driver issues.” This is a particular individual case and varies from person to person. In short, if you’re not able to find the answer to a question, simply paraphrase the statement with different words to improve the results.
If you didn’t know, Google search has an amazing feature that lets you search for a specific file or file type. It’s quite an overlooked feature, but it can be quite handy if you want to search for a particular file, like PDF, PowerPoint, etc. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use this feature that can drastically reduce your search time. Here is the syntax:
filetype:pdf *Enter a search keyword here*
Simply replace the “Enter a search keyword here” with whatever you’re looking for in the example above, and replace the “pdf” with any file type extension you can think of, i.e. pptx, docx, etc. This is primarily valuable for scholarly purposes, but it can also be useful for corporate presentations and other types of presentations.
Google allows you to convert your everyday measuring units and currency values quickly and accurately. This is particularly useful for determining the exchange rate between multiple currencies and converting measurements from one measuring unit to another, such as from ounces to litres.
Imagine sitting in Auckland and wanting to know the weather conditions or time in another region of the world. Google can help you clarify your curiosity. You can check out weather conditions, current time, sunset and sunrise in any region around the world. You can do this by:
If you’re going to the airport or picking up a loved one, type in their flight number, and Google will send you a card with the most up-to-date times and terminal/gate information. If you’re looking to book a flight, Google Flights can help you find the best deals as well.
For example, at the time of writing this article, Air New Zealand NZ 5005 departed Auckland at 09:55 am from Gate 43 Terminal D, and it was scheduled to land in Napier at 11:00am. If you just type the flight number (NZ 5005) in the search bar, Google will display all the information regarding this flight, including whether it’s on time or there’s a delay.
Did you know you can check the score of any live sports match as well as the details of any tournament using Google? Well, Google gives you all the essential details of a sports match as well as tournaments that you would find on professional sports websites with simple queries. This feature is quite similar to the flight search feature.
For example, if there is a football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, you check the details of the match by searching for “FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid” or “FC Barcelona Live” or “FCB vs RM live” or anything that is suitable for searching this fixture. Similarly, if you search “LaLiga Table” in the search bar, Google will display the full league table of the Spanish Football League.
We all experience the frustration of not knowing when our online shopping package is going to arrive. Well, Google can help you with this problem. You can easily insert any UPS, USPS, or FedEx tracking number into the Google search field, and it will show you the package’s tracking details. This is far more convenient than visiting various websites, waiting for them to load, and then looking for your packages there. This one doesn’t really require any examples. Simply enter your tracking number to check where your package is currently located.
Google offers multiple built-in games and tools that you can easily access by googling them, including Minesweeper, Snake, Tic-Tac-Toe, Pac-man, etc. For example, search ‘flip a coin’, and Google will display it for you. It also includes built-in tools like bubble level (on mobile), colour picker, metronome, and breathing exercise.
To get a five-minute timer, type ‘timer’ into the search box (or stopwatch to time something). To alter the length of time, click and type in the time you want. Initiate the countdown by pressing the Start button. The countdown will continue even if you switch to a new tab; if you accidentally close the tab with the timer, you’ll get a warning. Your browser tab will indicate the remaining time; after it’s up, an alarm will ring, and the tab will display an hourglass icon until you click OK to mute it.
Google Translate is one of the most effective and practical features of Google. It can help you translate text, documents and websites into any language. For instance, if you visit a website that’s in German and you don’t know German, Google will automatically detect its language, and it will allow you to change it into another language you know, like English. This way, you would be able to understand the contents without the language barrier.
Most importantly, Google allows you to translate any sentence or paragraph from any language to your desired language with decent accuracy. For instance, imagine you are chatting with a potential Chinese client who doesn’t know English; you can use the Google Translate feature to translate his/her messages into your desired language, i.e., English.
To use this feature, all you have to do is search for Google Translate in the search bar, and Google will show an interactive area for you where you can translate languages. Typically, you will see 2 columns, the left one for the source text and the right one for the translated text. You can simply copy your client’s message and paste it into the source area (left column), and it will automatically detect the language and show the translated text in the right column. English is the default translated language, but you can click on it to select any language from the list as your translated language.
Do you have a child using a computer? Google’s SafeSearch function protects kids from explicit content. Toggle the Explicit results filter option to “ON” from a search results page by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner. Though Google admits it isn’t perfect, it’s meant to filter out explicit links, photos, or videos that can be considered inappropriate for an all-ages audience.
Google is a really powerful search engine. Whether you’re looking for the answer for a school project, finding the latest stock prices, or simply looking for a song, there is always a way to make Google work for you. If you’re struggling to find the results you want, you may not be using the search engine in the right way. We hope this guide on how to Google helps you level up your searching game. Try all the tips mentioned in this guide to get effective search results regarding anything on the World Wide Web, and let us know if we missed any useful tips that you are using.
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