15 Tips For More Effective Google Searches

Image by Stéfan.

Search makes it possible to survive and thrive in today’s information age.

Search has changed the way we store, retrieve and use information. Mastering the art of search is critical.

Today, Search Has Become As Essential As Oxygen.

Today’s successful organizations know that search is a cornerstone to their achievement. We don’t need to spend excessive amounts of time filing and hunting for critical information. We just search for it. The savvier we become at search, the better we can filter information that is not important and focus on what is.

Here are 15 tips for using Google search effectively.

1. Be as descriptive as possible.

If you are looking for Red Delicious Apples, don’t just type in apples or apple. If you do, it might pull up Apple computers as well as apple the fruit.

2. Use quotation marks around a phrase.

When you add quotes around two or more words, Google returns results with that exact phrase.

3. Don’t worry about being case sensitive with Google.

4. Search for a specific word and its synonyms.

Use the tilde symbol (~) immediately before a word to tell Google to search for pages containing the word and its synonyms. Don’t put a space between the tilde symbol and the word or Goggle won’t give you results with similar words.

5. Search for a specific word and its synonyms with fewer results.

Use the word “or” between specific synonyms instead of the tilde symbol if you want fewer search results. That’s because you’re specifically telling Google to look for pages containing only one of those words.

6. Exclude specific words in search.

Use the minus symbol (-) immediately before a word that you want excluded from a search. Don’t put a space between the minus symbol and the word. For example, if you were searching for Operas you might search Opera -browser.

7. Search for a specific numeric range.

Use an ellipsis (three consecutive periods) to express a range of numbers. Example, if you want to find lodging in Las Vegas in a specific price range, type, “Las Vegas Hotels” $79…$150 per night.

8. Search a specific site with Google.

Use site: without a space after the colon, followed by the URL of the site you want to search, to search a specific website. Example, want to know how many articles the New York times has published using the phrase meetings industry use “meetings industry” site:nytimes.com. (Note: you don’t need to type www as part of the URL address.)

9. Search for a specific file type.

Use filetype: followed by doc (Word files), pdf, ppt (PowerPoint) or xls (Excel) to look for a specific type of file. Example, “meeting budget” filetype:xls might help find Excel spreadsheets that contain meetings budgets.

10. Weather

Want to know the weather in a specific city? Type weather and the city name.

11. Time

Want to know the time in a specific city? Type time and city name.

12. Phone numbers.

When an unknown phone number pops up on your caller ID, use this search: phonebook:(insert the phone number). To find someone’s phone number: phonebook: (first name) space (last name) space city space state. Example phonebook: John Doe Chicago IL

13. Shipping status

Expecting a package from FedEx, UPS or another shipper? Type the tracking number into Google and receive an immediate update without having to navigate to the carrier’s website.

14. Search via texting.

Send a text message to Google at 466453 and you’ll receive information in a few seconds. Example, get the phone number of the W Hotel in Dallas by texting W Hotel Dallas to Google.

15. Call Google’s free directory assistance.

800.466.4411 Google will look up a business name, city and state and automatically connect you.

There are many more Google search tips. What’s your favorite or most used tip? Add it in the comments.

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  2. Dave Will says:

    Love these tips, Jeff. Thanks… My favorite is the ~ sign. Very cool.

    BUT, I’ve been using the Google Information phone number for about a year and the last time I called it (2 days ago) I heard a message saying it was going to be discontinued Nov 11 or something like that… Very disappointing. It was an awesome free version of 411.

  3. Bravo Jeff… this is very welcome and helpful information.

    It made me realize how google ignorant I am.



    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Thanks for the tip about Google’s information number being discontinued! Appreciate it.

      I think many of us are “Google-Ignorant” as you called it. Thanks for reading!

  4. […] Hurt’s tips for more effective Google searches. I’m a pretty dexterous searcher, and even I learned some stuff […]

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