The chances are that you use Google every day for something or other. We are not even going to list examples on this occasion – the use of the search engine is so widespread and flexible that something has undoubtedly already come to mind. The majority of people know that when they want to find something on the internet, Google ranks among the best choices, but what a lot of people do not know about is the extreme functionality that can make it even easier to find exactly what you are looking for. As good as Google is, it is still mechanical, and its interpretation of your search query may not match your own. Fortunately, it is a powerful tool that is more than happy to be pointed in the right direction to better match your needs.
1. Use Modifiers on Search Queries
If you have a specific idea of what you want to come up in your search results, modifiers can be ideal for getting right to where you need to be. The minus symbol is one such modifier; put it before a word in your search and Google explicitly removes any results that contain the word in question. You might want a big umbrella, but not a golf umbrella, so searching for ‘big umbrella -golf’ will get you closer to where you want to be.
Quotation marks are also handy, as they ensure that you search for the exact phrase in that specific order, rather than Google attempting to piece together the best results from the entire content of a page. You can also ensure that all your results come from just a single website by placing ‘site:domain’ somewhere in the search, such as ‘site:10tips.to’.
2. Find Similar Websites
If you have a favourite website that does much of what you need it to but stops short of everything, you can find sites that do the same thing but with potentially different products and services. Add ‘related:domainname’ to your search to bring up a list of websites that are clearly similar to your queried site and see whether they can better meet your needs.
3. Filter Results by Publication Date
If you are seeking time-sensitive information, the time filters on Google can be convenient. More and more content publishers are including publishing dates because Google looks upon them favourably when ranking, but the search engine takes things a step further by enabling users to change the date range for current or indeed older information.
4. Explore Advanced Search
Modifiers can do a lot, but they can be hard to remember and cannot do everything. Consider using Google’s advanced search to be even more specific about the results you expect. You can choose words, exact words, excluded words and numbers, as well as specifying languages, countries and publishing dates in a single form to find precisely what you are looking for. This can also be used in the image search if you have a specific picture in mind.
5. Try Reverse Image Searches
Pictures are everywhere online, and it is not unheard of for an image to pique your interest, even if there is no context for its source on the page. We have noted that Google is very intelligent, and one of the smartest things that it can do is to take an image and find out where else it is used. In cases of photos of famous people of landmarks, Google will automatically provide an informational snippet too.
6. Carry Out Simple Tasks in the Search Box
Google is primarily associated with using the search box to find other webpages. However, the box itself is a calculator, converter and dictionary, among other things. Put an equation or weight conversion into the search box, and Google itself will work out the result, getting you the data, you need without even leaving the main site.
7. Use Collections for Images
If you are logged in to Google, you can save images that appear in your search results in collections, directly from the image display itself. It reminds us of a limited Pinterest and is an excellent way of storing pictures for later use or sorting without leaving the search process.
8. Google Has Games
If you are procrastinating or just flat out bored, try searching for some of your favourite games of yesteryear. We have seen the creative capabilities of the Google Search team in their daily doodles, but there are web-based versions of addictive old games built right into the site. Among the options are Pac-Man, Solitaire and Snake, as in the iconic Nokia game that made mobile phones into more than just devices for calling and texting.
9. Automate Your Searches
If you wake up each morning and immediately search for the same thing, Google Alerts might be for you. This section of the site invites users to input specific search terms and keywords, and it will then notify them by email when something containing the keyword appears in their index. This is commonly used for news on a particular subject but can also be utilised to track mentions of your own name or brand, and you can control where the alert is sent and how often.
10. Combine Search with Other Google Products
You will probably have noticed that there is more to Google as a company than a search engine. Their Google Apps, including office tools and other software, has exploded in popularity due to being functional yet free, and you may also make use of AdWords, AdSense, Gmail and a whole host of other tools. Google knows that search remains at the core of its business, and so there are multiple interactions between the various tools to make anyone’s searching life much more comfortable.