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Become a Google Ninja with Advanced Search Operators

02 November 2009 Posted by in category: Internet tools with Tags , , , ,

Google Logo - advanced google search Do you ever feel that if you could only tell Google a bit more about what you're trying to find, the search results would be much better? Well, as you probably know – 

Google has some advanced search operators that help to refine search queries. You can use them to better focus your queries by specifying things like which sites to search, use placeholders, search for exact matches, and more.

Here is a quick guide to Google's advanced search operators.

Starting with Google's advanced operators

Double quotation marks (" ") for exact much:

When you enclose a phrase in quotation marks, Google returns only pages that contain that exact phrase. The results have to contain all the words and in the exact same order as you wrote them. Search for "The first Twitter user", for example, and you'll only get back pages that contain exactly that phrase. This advanced search feature is one of the most useful in my opinion.

Asterisk (*) is a placeholder for one or more words:

adding * replaces any number of words in your query. Example: let's say you want to find articles that teach Google search practices, like this one. You could use the following query for that task:

"how to Search * with Google"

The quotation marks will make sure that you'll get back pages with that sentence in them. But since there's Asterisk in the query, you'll find different versions of it. So, you might get back this sentence: How to Search Faces with Google, this one: How to SearchEffectively with google, or any other variation that matches the query. See the results in the image below or try the query yourself. how to Search  with Google

(site:) limits the search to specific domain(s):

when you encounter a website that does not have a search box, you can use this operator to search it. Simply add to the query, where is the site's URL. This will tell Google to search only pages within Example: to search information about libraries in Harvard University we can use this query (note that there is a space between the address and the word 'libraries', which is the term we want to find):

site: libraries

Try this query yourself.

You can also use site: to search across websites under the same top level domain (such as .gov or .edu). Example: you can find really interesting information about how government related bodies in the US use twitter, with this query: twitter

The results will include webpages under the .gov domain that related to twitter in some way. See the results in the image below or try the query yourself. twitter

The plus sign (+) disables synonyms:

Google automatically searches for synonyms and similar words to those in your query. To limit this, add + right before the word(s) you which to keep the same (no space between the + and the word). Use the or sign (|) for either one of several possibilities: you can make your searches much more effective and efficient by using the | sign (find it on the same key as the Backslash sign- \). What it tells Google is to search either one of the words attached to it. (Note that you can use OR , with capital letters, instead of using the | sign.) Example: you can combine the following four different queries:

"the Facebook guide"

"the youtube ‎guide"

"the linkedin guide"

"The gmail guide"

Into a single query:

"the Facebook|youtube|LinkedIn|gmail guide"‎

See the results in the image below or try the query yourself. guides Do you have other search tips? Share them with us in the comments!

4 Responses to “Become a Google Ninja with Advanced Search Operators”

  1. webaddlink 20 January 2010 at 4:45 pm (PERMALINK)

    Your web is very useful I liked a lot and I will return to read again.

  2. Freestyle Medela 9 May 2010 at 1:05 pm (PERMALINK)

    Yeah, I have learned many techniques ever since this thing was put up.

  3. 18 June 2010 at 3:10 am (PERMALINK)

    Very less explored subject and you have provided valuable information. Thanks for the great stuff.