Google: search tips
Google is a powerful search engine. But the results list can be endlessly long and at page 3 you still haven't found what you were looking for. These tips and tricks will help you specify a better search question.
- Use unique, specific terms (keywords, not sentences). E.g. search for headache instead of my head hurts
- Make use of the auto-complete function. Interesting suggestions can help you narrow your search. Start typing Ghent University and get suggestions like Ghent University library, Ghent University hospital, Ghent University logo
- Use double quotes (“”) to search for an exact phrase.
"what does Ghent University stand for"
- Use "OR" (in capitals!) or "|" to search for several terms.
Jon OR Jonathan tennant
- Some input is neglected in a search, like interpunction, meaningless words. If you want to include them, use single quotes (' ').
'de' garage gent
- Use an asterisk (*) to complete a phrase with an unknown word.
"Winston * Churchill"
"a bird in the hand is worth * in the bush"
- Include synonyms to broaden your search question using the tilde (~).
healthy ~dinner will also return healthy choices, healthy eating, healthy recipes
- Limit your search to a certain number range (also time span) by insertion of two dots (..).
samsung phone 200..400€
- Search in a particular website with "site:".
- Exclude terms using a dash (-).
-site:wikipedia.org to avoid results from Wikipedia
- Only search the term in the title: "intitle:" for one word, "allintitle:" for several words. Alternatively, to find words in the text you can use "intext:"
- Find related websites to the one you already know.
- Convert measurements in no time.
16 lb to kg
- Search for content by a certain author: "allinpostauthor:".
- Check out who is linking to a page using "link:". This helps you assess the quality, the validity of a website.
- Search in the website you have found: push the buttons "Ctrl" and "f" at the same time and a search box will open
- Try using Google's advanced search: google.com/advanced_search
Want to find out more? Check out these sources:
Official Google Search Tips & Tricks site: Google help Center (accessed 2023/03/14)
Nice infographic by dailyinfographic (accessed 2023/03/14)
Beebom 50 Cool Google Search Tricks to Search Better in 2019 (accessed 2023/03/14)
How to “hack” Google with search operators, Rachel Rofé (accessed 2023/03/14)
- Google Books: what is it? (Search / find)
- Google Scholar (Search / find)
Last modified March 14, 2023, 4:31 p.m.