Google Advanced Search Tips
Google offers the function of advanced search to deliver the most relevant results. Most surfers using Google are not aware that these handy search tips even exist. If used as suggested, one can cut down results from thousands of irrelevant pages to a handful of useful links. In this case study we are going to cover some points of searching using Google:
1. Basic Google Search Tips
2. Advanced Search Procedure Using Operators in Google
3. Google's Main Search Features
4. Advanced Search Features in Google
5. Google Labs
6. Google Product Search
1. Basic Google Search Tips:
Most net surfers are not aware of these basic search functions which will help them to find the exact results that they are looking for. To illustrate the use of these tips we will use square brackets [ ] to denote queries, for example [ website design ] is an example of a query and so is [ website development ]. These examples will help you to understand how to use these useful search tips.
The following basic Google search tips are very useful:
Google search is set to Web Search by default. If you would like to change your search criteria you can choose from a variety of options. Simply click on Advanced Search next to the search box to refine your search.
The default procedure for search displays pages with all of the typed keywords. For example a search for [ website development ] will bring up pages with all of these keywords.
•Use of “and”:
By default all typed keywords are searched for so there is no need to type "and" between terms.
Common words like "how" & "where" are automatically excluded. Single digits are also excluded. This is necessary because it helps to speed up the search. Common words can be included by using the "+" sign after a space. This should come after your main keyword. For example [ website design +and development ]. Double quotation marks will do the same thing.
Choose your keywords wisely and keep them simple. Use your logic to locate very specific keywords that are descriptive and think about how the page you are looking for will be written. For example the keyword [ websites ] is not very descriptive but if you say [ accommodation websites ] then you will find that the results are much more specific.
•Use More Keywords:
Include more terms to narrow down your search. By being specific about what you are looking for you will find that the results are more relevant. For example [ websites ] is very broad but if you search for [ chillies website design ] the results that come up will be very specific.
Google search is not case sensitive. All characters, except the "OR" operator, are understood as lower case only. So there is no need to worry about capitalization.
•Use of Minus:
The minus sign "-" can be used after the keywords to exclude a specific keyword. This keyword is placed after the minus sign without a space. This comes in handy when a word with different meanings could make the search engine come up with irrelevant results. For example if you are looking for Chillies the website company then [ chillies -food ] will exclude pages that refer to food Chilies.
•Use of Plus:
The Plus Operator (+) is used to find web pages that match the search exactly. Sometimes Google will look for synonyms when you don’t want it to. By adding (+) before the keyword without a space Google will look for that specific word only. For example [ chillies +website ]
•Use of a Tilde:
To make your search more comprehensive you can expand your keyword search to include its synonyms by using the tilde sign "~". It can be used more than once with more than one keyword. For example [ ~ocean ] – do not include a space between the tilde operator and the keyword.
•Use of Quotation Marks:
You can also use quotation marks for keywords that you want in a sequence or a phrase. This way the search engine only picks up pages that contain the exact words as enclosed in the quotation marks. For example [ “chillies website design and development” ].
•Use of the OR operator:
The OR Operator (OR) is used to find at least one of any of the keywords. For example [ Vodacom Cheetahs win 2007 OR 2008 ] to find out what the Vodacom Cheetahs won in 2007 or 2008.
•Use of the * or wildcard:
The * or wildcard can be used when you want Google to fill in the gap. For example you can say [ Obama voted * on the * bill ] and Google will come up results on Obama’s votes on different bills.
Google uses stemming technology which means that it will not only look for your search terms but for terms that are similar to some or all of the terms. For example [ website ] and [ websites ]. Any variations that are searched for will be highlighted in the snippet of text accompanying the text. Google frequently adjusts the stemming algorithm so results may fluctuate depending on their latest adjustments.
You can use the directory search if you are not sure about the appropriate keywords. Here information is ordered in to categories by topic. For example Computers, Technology and Food. This will help you to refine your search to within a specific category.
2. Advanced Search Procedure Using Operators in Google
Operators are special keywords, which Google recognizes and uses for specific searches. Specific operators can be used for searching in Google to increase the relevance of the displayed results. One can choose a combination of some or all of these operators to narrow down results. Usually only a special web-tool can extract such results. To make search user-friendlier, Google offers this facility directly from the search bar.
Special Operators for Google Search:
•link:To find out how many links point towards your website, simply use the link: operator in the main Google search box. For example [ link: www.chillies.co.za ] The results show all the links that link back to the Chillies website.
•related: To find pages similar in content to the specified URL. For example [related: www.chillies.co.za ] will show pages that have information that is related to the Chillies site.
•filetype: If you are searching for a particular file type that contains the information that you want, then this operator can be used. For example [ web page design checklist filetype: pdf ] will return Adobe Acrobat files that match the terms “web” , “page”, “design” and “checklist”. This can be very handy if you are searching for an image in a specific format.
Similarly, when you wish your results to exclude certain file types, you can use the filetype: operator in combination with the minus (-) operator. For example [ images chillies -filtype:bitmap ].
•allintitle: This is used when the keywords that you are looking for is located in the title of the page. Only websites that have pages titled with your chosen keyword are displayed. Chillies’ article on Title Tag Optimization covers different aspects of working with your web page's Title Tag. For example [ allintitle:search engine copywriting ].
•allintext: Those pages are picked which have your keywords only in the text content. Read about optimizing your site's content in our in-depth article on Search Engine Copywriting. For example [ allintext:Chillies website ].
Similarly you can use allinurl: (to search for keywords only in URLs) and allinanchor: (to search for keywords only from links or anchor text on the page.) For more information, you can refer to our article on Anchor Text Optimization.
•inurl: This is used when the keyword that you are looking for is located in the URL. Only documents with keywords in the URL will be displayed. Chillies’ article on Title Tag Optimization covers different aspects of working with your web page's Title Tag. For example [ inurl: chillies website ] Here all URLs, which contain the word Chillies and website will be shown in the results.
•intitle: This operator is used for searching specific words from within titles of pages. Any word that follows after the first keyword will be picked up from within the page content of these pages. For Example [ website design intitle:chillies ] will return pages that refer to chillies in their title and have the words website and design in the body.
•cache: when a Googlebot indexes a site, it takes snapshots of all indexed pages. This operator helps in viewing cached pages. For example [ cache:www.chillies.co.za ] will show the cached pages of the Chillies website instead of the current version of the page. To further view content of a cached page, you can type the keyword that you are looking for within the cached page for example [ cache:chillies.co.za/region/gauteng] this will show the cached version of the page on the Gauteng region.
•info: This query will extract information that Google has about the link mentioned after this operator. For example [ info:www.chillies.co.za ] will show information about the Chillies homepage.
•define: This operator can be used to get definitions of specified phrases. All words typed after this operator is treated as a single phrase. For example to get the definition for a Googlebot you would type [ define: googlebot ].
•stocks: All queries entered after this operator will be treated as stock ticker symbols and pick up content from stock related pages. Please note that only stock ticker symbols and not company names can be used after this operator. For example the stock ticker symbol for Microsoft is MSFT. To get information on Microsoft stocks you would type in [ stocks: MSFT ].
•site: Google allows you to specify that the results of your search must come from a specific site. For example [ Microsoft site: chillies.co.za ] would come up with information on Microsoft on the Chillies website.
Results will show links to pages only from within www.chillies.co.za that contain the keyword SEO.
Similarly, to exclude results from a specific site or domain, you can use the site: operator coupled with the minus operator. For example [ Chillies website design –site:www.chillies.co.za ] will show pages on Chillies website design from all sites except the Chillies website.
•mac?q To search for anything related to Mac, you can type http://www.google.com/ followed by mac?q followed by the keyword of your choice directly in your browser's address field. For example http://www.google.com/mac?q=seo
•linux?q Anything related to Linux can be found using http://www.google.com/ followed by linux?q and the keyword after that from the address bar of your browser. For example http://www.google.com/linux?q=seo
http://www.google.com/bsd?q=seo for enquiries related to Unix only.
http://www.google.com/microsoft?q=seo for Microsoft related search only.
http://www.google.com/unclesam?q=seo for U.S. Govt related search only.
All the above options can help you narrow down your search to very relevant content located on a few links.
3. Google's Main Search Features
To find images click Images on the search page this will take you to the images search page. Type in the topic/subject of the images you want. The results are displayed in thumbnails collected from across the web. You can click on the thumbnails for the image of your choice and it is downloaded to the browser window at the bottom half of your page. Set preferences before you proceed as the safe search filter is set to moderate by default.
This is a service was used when email was not very common. People would post their comments to specific websites that offered this service. Usenet was one such site. Google bought Usenet with all their archives that ran into millions of pages. These pages and millions more have been added together to make up what is called Google Groups. Users can log in and access the topic of their choice and read expert views and exchange notes here. This is a massive forum which covers all topics under the sun.
Google news offers you the latest news updates. You can search over 4500 news resources for the latest news or news archives.
This is a complete resource of listings for all web resources. The directory has 16 main categories divided into sub categories.
4. Advanced Google Search Features
Google offers many advanced tools and features which help you in your search. The following are very handy. Simply type your query into the search box:
•Calculator: Can be used to evaluate mathematical expressions. Simply type the equation into the search bar.
•Phonebook: Gives you US street address and phone number information.
•Search by Number: Allows you to search with numbers for package tracking, US. Patents, area codes and other online databases.
•Street Maps: Find US. Street maps.
•Travel Information: New service for checking status of airline flights weather information etc. Simply type in the airport name for example [ LAX ] or [OR Thambo].
•Web Page Translation: Useful tool for getting web pages written in other languages translated to English.
5. Google Labs
Check out the great tools under construction at http://labs.google.com/
Allows you to fetch and organize facts from across the web. Google Squared automatically constructs a table of facts about any category you specify.
A handy directory for Android-powered phone to look up nearby points of interest coming from Google Local.
Google News Timelines
A web application that organizes information chronologically. Google News Timeline allows users to view news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and more on a zoomable, graphical timeline.
Search for images using pictures rather than words. Similar Images helps you to narrow your search by finding images that are visually similar to an existing result.
Sky Map for Android
Turn your Android-powered mobile phone into a dynamic window on the night sky.
6. About Google Product Search
If there is anything you are looking to buy, Google Product Search is an extensive directory that caters to your queries. One can find products in a number of categories including: Apparel & Accessories, Arts and entertainment, Auto & Vehicles, Baby, Books, Music & Video, Business & industry, Computers, Electronics, Flowers, Food & Gourmet, Health & Personal Care, Home & Garden, Office, Sports & Outdoors, Toys & Games. This list is further divided into various sub categories. Google Product Search is a very useful tool for shopping. The listing is enormous and all major players are listed.
There are a number of other tools and services available on Google, which offer complete search solutions for everybody's web needs. For complete information visit www.google.com