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12 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know

by Suzanne Kantra on May 11, 2020

Searching the web for information is a skill. Yes, you can enter a term into Google and find information, but by using a few simple tricks, you can quickly and easily whittle down your results to get exactly the information you're looking for.

1. Find new stories

Google time frame search

In general, putting a year or date in your search term will help limit results to more recent entries. However, if you want to limit your results, Google lets you search by the past hour, past year or create a custom date range. You'll see this option when you click on Tools.

2. Search for a specific phrase

When you're looking for search results for a specific phrase, put your search term in quotes. For example: "Internet privacy" would only show results with that specific phrase. If you don't know all of the words or the word could have a few variations, you can substitue an asterix for the work. For example: "biggest * with teeth" would show results for a variety of large animals with teeth. 

3. Search a specific site

Google Search site-specific search

Most websites have their own search function, but it's often not as good as Google. To limit results to a particular site, you can add "site:" and then the Web address of the site. For example "internet privacy". To exclude a site, put a minus sign before the word site.

And if you want to search by domain, say you want to just search government or educational institution sites, you should search by or

You can also search just those pages you’ve already visited, if you’re trying to go back and find something you’ve seen before. Go to Settings > Search activity and then re-enter your search term. 

Google search History

4. Eliminate a term from search results

Want to find information about Donnie Wahlberg but getting a bunch of results pertaining to Mark Wahlberg? You can put a minus in front of any term you want to eliminate. So you'd type: "Wahlberg -Mark" to eliminate the Mark Wahlberg results.

5. Limit results to search terms in a title

If you want to make sure you're returning results that focus on a topic, you may want to limit results stories that include the term in the title. Simply type "allintitle:" ahead of your search term.

6. Using an image to search

Google image search

See a dessert you'd like to make but don't know what it's called? If you have the image saved on your computer or open in another window of your Web browser, you can use it to search using Google's image search. Simply select the image and drag it into the search bar on the Google image search page and Google will find similar images and make a best guess. This feature is great for finding clothing, identifying plants and tracking down furniture and other items that may otherwise be hard to identify.

7. Searching for local results

Often your search engine will already know where you are. If it doesn't, or you want to search in another location, you can add a zip code to the end of your search. Or, under Search tools, you can select your location.

8. Finding appropriate content for children

Google Safe Search

Turn on SafeSearch, which you can find under the settings button, the cog icon in the upper right corner. This will filter out explicit results. You can also lock on SafeSearch with your Google account ID and password.

9. Finding a product

Google Shopping

If you’re looking to purchase a product, type in the product name or type and then click on Shopping. On the left side, you’ll be able to sort by price, whether the product is available nearby, the color, brand and more. You can also add a price range to your search term by adding the minimum price followed by two periods and the maximum price. For instance, you'd type: waterproof jacket $50..$100

10. Solve a math problem

Google Search calculator

Kids checking up on their math can type a numeric equation into the search bar and they can get the answer. You can also get quick number conversions by inputting the conversion factors, like liters to cups or dollars to Euros.

11. Get immediate results

Google search - package tracking

Google prepackages relevant information on frequently searched topics. So you can simply type in a flight number to get flight status, a tracking number to track a package, the name of a sports team to get the score, a stock ticker symbol to get the current stock price and weather to get the forecast.

12. Get help in a natural, manmade or humanitarian disaster

When a crisis occurs, Google creates SOS Alerts. These special search results make emergency information more accessible by listing resources (emergency phone numbers, maps of affected areas, etc.), showing updates from local, national and international authorities, and providing links for donation opportunities, among other listings. If you're using the Google app (for Android and iOS) and turn on location sharing for the app, you'll automatically receive SOS Alerts in your area.

Google Search Advanced search

Still haven’t found the right information? Advanced search, which you can find under Settings in the upper right corner, adds the ability to search by country, when the post was last updated and for a word just in the title of the page, among other options.

Updated on 5/11/2020 with additional tips

[Image credit: Google on laptop and phone via BigStockPhoto]


Tech 101, Computers and Software, Internet & Networking, Tips & How-Tos

Discussion loading


From Cindy Richards on April 17, 2019 :: 1:23 pm

I thought I was pretty good at Google searching, but I learned some stuff here. Nice job, Suzanne.



From Suzanne Kantra on April 18, 2019 :: 2:32 pm

There’s always something new to learn with Google. It’s a never-ending quest.



From Gary on April 17, 2019 :: 5:44 pm

Thanks, Suzanne.  Those are very helpful.

I’ve long used the quotation marks to narrow a search (Tip 2); however, in the last four years if you add more quoted words to a search, the number of results greatly increases—and the results are not likely to contain any of the quoted words.

There are probably other aspects of Tip 2 than you have written about.



From Suzanne Kantra on April 18, 2019 :: 2:42 pm

Google will (should) always show you any exact matches to quoted phrases first, then close matches second. If it can’t find an exact match, Google will make an educated guess about what it thinks you are searching for and will show a list of results. The longer your quoted search phrase, the less likely it is there will be an exact match.

That is, “best dog breeds” is a common phrase that will turn up exact matches. But “best dog breeds for people named Tim who live in a yurt”, will get you a variety of results that Google hopes might be helpful, given that no one has bothered to write that exact article (yet).


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