You can get as specific with the Google results you want … as well as those you don't want.
13 min read
Googlear has become our second skin, considering that many people consult this search engine dozens of times a day.
The company's flagship product works with a large number of algorithms designed to distribute the most relevant results for everything we type in the search box; but sometimes, it takes some syntax and a little search to find exactly what you are looking for. To discuss Google search, you must first understand how accurate you can be with the tool, then learn what to write or what adjustments to make to achieve that level of accuracy.
Google search is a great source of discovery, with a Trends page that shows you the related searches others have done and the interest that has been shown in a topic for some time. The search also has several options to help you finish certain tasks, such as converting coins or tracking an order, saving you some clicks on a third-party site.
Here we will show you how to be more fluent in the Google language and learn what the search engine can do for you:
1. Emphasize certain words and block others
Most people understand that the words they put in the search engine will be similar to the results that Google offers them. But did you know that you can go further, putting a plus sign (+) in front of one of your search terms to emphasize? In other words, Google is programmed to give you results that may not include all the words in your search. Adding a plus sign tells the search engine “this word is fundamental.”
In addition to marking certain words as important, you can also add words that you want to exclude from the results by adding a minus sign (-).
For example, if you want to go to a conference like CES, and you want to find digital content about last year's conference, you can search “CES +2019-2020” to highlight your search.
2. Add question marks in phrases or word lines
If you are looking for something very specific, such as a book, you should put your full name in quotes. This tells Google that you want results with those words, in that order, and not results with any of those words or in any order.
You can also use this to find certain categories of information (such as “programs that come out in March”). Any website or publication that has compiled this information and used this phrase will appear. Or if you remember a phrase from something you read but don't know where, this technique can help you find it more easily.
3. Search for a phrase, even if you don't remember all the words
Let's say you heard a song in a cafe where there was a lot of noise, and Shazam couldn't identify it, but you really want to know what the song was. If you heard certain words, search for them on Google, replacing the words you don't remember with asterisks.
Try “All I want for * is you.” This search will result in the song of Maariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.
This also works for phrases, if you are sure that a few words are in order.
4. Do two searches at once
You read well. If you have two ideas about how a sentence is going, or two things you want to know more about, you can search for them with the word “O” in the middle. For example, it can be something like “digital marketing tools or digital marketing software.” This works for individual words or phrases. If you want to search for specific phrases again, put each one between question marks to get better results.
You can use “Y” instead of “O” if you want two words or phrases to be included in your search, instead of one or the other.
5. Specify the website you want to get results from
Let's say you're looking for tips to crowdfunding on entrepreneur.com . A search that says “site: entrepreneur.com crowdfunding” ensures that you will only get results on entrepreneur.com . Another example is if you want information about the CEO of a company. You can search the company's website to find the name of the director.
Note: Your search cannot have spaces between the word page or site and the name of the site, otherwise this shortcut will not work for you. You can search for specific sections of a site, however, as long as the partial URL matches the actual URLs on the site to which it is addressed: “site: entrepreneur.com/video crowdfunding” is a valid search that will offer you video posts. Also, use lowercase for the site.
6. Find a new site to search
You may have done a thorough search for a product or information on a site that you thought had what you want. Without a doubt, there are other websites that can offer you what you need. In these cases, Google can tell you pages that are similar to the ones you've been using. Search “related: URL,” with or without additional keywords to find results from similar websites. (Again, you have to use lowercase letters for the text that goes before the dots, and leave no spaces between the words).
7. Search for personal results
If you are logged into your Google account and are looking for terms such as “my trips”, “my flights” or “my reservations”, Google will generate an information table with a list of results. This can save you several steps, instead of having to enter your Gmail and search for your reservations.
8. Follow your packages
Skip some steps and monitor your shipments from Google. If you have the tracking or guide number, just Google it. If Google does not recognize you as a guide, try google “shipping tracking”, and then enter the number in the field that will appear. If the search gives you results, you won't have to use the name of the shipping company.
9. Find pages with links to your site
You may have a blog or web page and you are wondering if there are other pages where a link of yours appears. In addition to searching Google Analytics or any other traffic monitoring tool, you can find out who is sending traffic to your site by searching for your URL with the following: ” link: example.com ” (any URL, without leaving spaces between words). The URL can be the home of your site or any page.
10. Search for a specific type of file
If you know that you are looking for a PDF, an Excel sheet, a PowerPoint presentation or any other type of file that has been uploaded to the web, you can search for “filetype: PDF”, “filetype: xlsx”, “filetype: ppt” etc. It is a quick and easy way to find agency reports, sample presentations on certain topics and much more.
11. Set a timer
If you always get distracted when you are online, think about setting a timer to stay tuned. Google “set timer for” and enter a specific amount of time and then click on “start”. When your time is up, you will hear an alarm.
12. Search in a specific period of time
There are two ways to do this. Find something, and then click on “Tools” under the search bar. You can specify a period of time using the part that says “Any date” (this is the default) and modify it to “Last hour”, “Last 24 hours”, or choose the time you want.
Or you can specify the range of years using the following search: “2014..2016”. Thus, Google will show you the results of those years.
The “..” Works for any numerical range, such as prices.
13. Search for image or video formats
Add some personality to that email. Google images have a filter that allows you to specify if you want a “face”, a “photo”, a “clip art” or a “line drawing” or even a “gif”. You can also search by size, color, rights of use, and temporality (this refers to the moment in which said image was uploaded to the web).
14. Calculate currency conversion
All you have to do is enter the amount of money with the type of currency or its symbol followed by “a” or any term that suggests comparison “45 dollars to euros” and Google will offer you your currency calculator at the beginning of the results . There you can move to change the type of currency. Google even shows you a graph of how the value of that currency has changed over time.
Google Translate works similarly to make translations. You can also convert measurements using the Google search engine.
15. Get real-time stock information
If you put the symbol or abbreviation of any public company (such as Apple's AAPL), you will see a summary of the current market, including its value, the way in which it has evolved over time, its capitalization and much more. You can play in the search engine to see different graphs including “1 day”, “5 days” “1 month” and up to “5 years” maximum. Most are updated in real time, so if you leave the page open you will see how it changes throughout the day.
16. Review the status of a flight in real time
This is very useful for travelers or for those who are anticipating the arrival of someone. Google the flight number including the airline, and at the beginning of the results Google will show you the flight information with everything and terminal or boarding gate. Among these details you can also see an image of a small plane that moves as the flight progresses.
17. Find out what others are looking for
Visit Google Trends to discover what people around the world look for in real time. This site can help you with SEO, as it offers many common searches. It also shows you information on the topics that are trending, for people who want to add a conjuncture to their content. Forget about having to guess what is being important in the world and have numbers that support your work.
You can filter by category (business, health, etc.), or by country, and see the level of interest that a certain topic has had over time.
For example, Google Trends shows that searches for the word “backpack” have their highest point at the end of July, just before returning to school. Related searches include a list of brands or specific details, such as “small backpacks.” You can even download a spreadsheet with all this information.
18. Go one step further
If all these tricks are not enough for you, try Advanced Search. (All you have to do is put “Google Advanced Search” to enter the tool).
The first field allows you to enter a series of words that you want to appear in the results. You can specify a word or phrase, or indicate if the result should show you “all words” or “none of these words”. It also allows you to filter by region, site or domain, file type, usage rights and much more. In addition, it allows you to turn on your SafeSearch to exclude results with explicit sexual content.
At the bottom of the page, where it says “You can also”, Google offers you links to “find pages similar to, or related to, URL”, “search visited pages”, “use search operators” and “customize your search options”.
19. Check cache
You may want to see a version of the previous day of a certain website to see if something changed, or if you could not access it in a certain period of time. Google saves previous versions of the pages, and you can access them by searching for “cache: example.com “. (Enter the URL you want, and make sure the word cache is in lowercase and without spaces between the words).
20. Enjoy Easter eggs
Google engineers have had a lot of fun programming the search engine and getting some jokes, some pretty nerds. A very good one has a touch of nostalgia and that is when Google “Google in 1998”. (Do it, to see it yourself).