Advanced Internet Searching

Expert Google Search Tips

1. Use a Phrase Search

If you are looking for information about the Black Death instead of just typing Black Death into the Google search box (about 95,800,000 results), you will get better results by searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, enclose the search phrase within double quotes. Example: “Black Death” (about 2,170,000 results)

2. Exclude Words

If you want to exclude results that contain a certain term then use the “-” sign in front of the word you want to exclude. Example: Black Death -bubonic (about 99,800,000 results)

3. Site Specific Search

Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the “” modifier. Example: “Black Death” (about 724 results)

4. Similar Words and Synonyms

If you want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms use the “~” (tilde) in front of the word. Example: “Black Death” ~plague (about 2,410,000 results)

5. Specific Document Types

If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the term “filetype:”. For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to Black Death. Example: “Black Death” filetype:ppt (about 1,030 results)

6. This OR That

By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be in capitals). Example: Black Death OR plague (about 102,000,000 results)

7. Numeric Ranges

If you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers you can do this by using the X..Y modifier (two full stops). This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers. Example: Black Death rats 2009..2010 (search for websites about Black Death mentioning rats written 2009-2010; about 3,640,000 results)

8. Calculator

For quick calculations just type your expression in to Google. Example: 48512 * 1.02

9. Word Definitions

To look up the definition of a word or phrase, use the “define:” command. Example: define:Black Death

Adapted from: Shah, Dharmesh (05 Mar 2007) HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog [online] [accessed 18/01/2018]

Top tip: Next time you Google, click on Advanced Search – you will get more meaningful results.

Download the Google Quick Reference Guide here: Google Guide

Here are some websites that may help your research:
Internet searching

Page updated by LD, 18/01/2018

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