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8 January, 2004

Google Search tips

As The Guardian notes, few people exploit the full power of Google searching, so a few tips are worth repeating.  See the original article for elaboration.

  • Imagine what you want - "it may sound obvious, but you have to search Google for the words that will be on the page you want, not for a description of the page or website."
  • Use quotation marks.
  • Use the + sign.
  • Use the - sign. A particularly valuable usage is '-merchant' to eliminate vendors from a search for information alone.
  • Try a wild card.
  • Use the 'site:' command.
  • Use the operators - 'filetype:', 'author:' 'location:', etc. These were new to me!
  • The 'Advanced Search' page offers much of the functionality noted above, saving the need to memorise syntax or shortcuts.
  • Other enhanced searches are being developed.
  • Try a different search engine, too.
[Update 03/01/06: You might also like to glance through the 'Random Queries' section of this site, as it includes suggestions for optimising searches.]
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