Google Search website is, by far, the world’s most popular web search engine with a market share of approximately 92%. This means that each day there are about 5.5 billion searches on this platform.
This statistic is not surprising considering that Google’s web browser (Google Chrome) is also the most used browser by a large margin, and searches are made through their own tool by default. People are used to it. And, to be fair, it is a very efficient and well-optimized tool.
Although it is so widely used, the truth is that the average user does not know how to use this tool in order to make the most of its features. Over time, Google implemented several “Google search hacks” to allow its users to find what they are really looking for, which is extremely important if we take into account the amount of content that exists on the Internet.
If you want to learn how to use Google more effectively, here are 9 easy Google search tips that will make you feel like a wizard and give you more accurate search results!
1. Quotation marks
Using quotation marks to limit the guesswork for Google search is probably the most well-known trick on this list. But in case you don’t know it yet, putting a chunk of text between quotation marks tells Google that you want the engine to specifically search for content that contains those exact words in that exact order. It’s as specific as it gets!
You can use a hyphen to exclude one or more words from your search. This is especially useful when your original search might present ambiguous results or when you want to exclude some specific results. Take a look at the following example.
Imagine you want to buy a new pair of headphones, but the only thing you know for sure is that you don’t want wireless headphones and you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Here’s what you should type on Google to exclude all the wireless options from your search:
Best cheap headphones -wireless
3. Google search shortcuts
As you probably already have realized through a random search, Google can give you immediate results if you type what you want to search in a specific way. This is a great way to save some time since you don’t have to click on any links to get the information you need.
Here’s a list of the most common Google shortcuts:
Weather zip code: this will show you what the weather is like in any given location. Instead of using the zip code, you can also just enter the city name.
Define: word: you can use Google as your dictionary. This shortcut will give you the definition of any English word from the Oxford dictionary.
Time location: do you want to know what time is it in Japan? That’s easy. You just search Time Japan on Google.
Math: you don’t need to grab a calculator to do simple calculations (or even complex ones). Just type it on the Google search bar and press enter. E.g. 543,22*2,3. Try it!
Conversions: do you want to know how many pounds are 129 kilograms? Simply search 129 kg to pounds and you will know it instantly. This works with any other type of conversion.
By putting an asterisk in your search, Google will leave a placeholder that might be filled later. This is an amazing tool to find a specific song or quote. Look at the following example.
You know when you hear a great song on the radio and you want to look it up on the Internet to see who sings it, but the only thing you can remember is a few words from a random verse? That’s when the asterisk comes in handy:
Watching all our friends * in and out of *
Google will quickly identify it as the lyrics of Video Games, a song written by Lana del Rey.
5. Related websites
Taking the previous example, let’s imagine that you want to discover websites similar to new york times. All you have to do is type related:nytimes.com and Google will display a series of other credible newspapers. In this case, Google would suggest the Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and Forbes.
6. Search within a website
When you want to find specific content within a website, you probably should use Google instead of wasting your time wandering through the entire website. All you hate to do is type the website link in front of your keyword search. Like such:
Tax cuts site:nytimes.com
Remember that even if the website has its own search tool, Google will probably do a better job.
7. Flexible searches
Did you know that you can search for multiple things at once? That’s right. You don’t have to open a new tab to make a slightly different search. So, if you want to buy a new t-shirt and you are sure you want either a red, green, or white one, here’s what you should search:
red shirt OR green shirt OR white shirt
Also, don’t forget that Google search is very flexible, so you can combine several tips to achieve more accurate results!
8. Search specific file types
This search filter can be quite useful to help you find a particular type of file. For example, if you want to download an excel spreadsheet to track and manage your monthly budget, here’s what you should search:
Monthly budget template filetype:xls
Other common file formats include pdf, ppt (PowerPoint), doc (Word), and txt (plain text).
9. Track a package
You don’t need to go to the website of the delivery company to check the tracking information of your packages. Just search the tracking number on Google and it will tell you exactly where your package is. Instantly!
Please note that this only works if your package is being delivered by UPS, USPS, or FedEx.