Google Search is, quite possibly, the most useful single thing on the Internet. Without it, it’s fair to assume we’d still be stuck in the age of asking Jeeves to make himself more useful, and maybe today we’d be using verbs like “Binging” it and “Yahooing” it instead of “Googling.”
But do you know how to really get the most out of Google Search? Until you’ve read this, our guess is “no,” so take a look at our Google Search tips to make your digital life easier.
1. Use an asterisk if you’re unsure of a word
Looking for a song that you liked the sound of, but you’re not one for instantly memorizing all the lyrics? That’s fine, because you can use the * symbol as a placeholder for words you’re not sure. So, to give the most obvious example in the world, typing in
I can't get no * will get Google to look for a word at the end of that phrase. And that world will, in all probably, be “satisfaction”, finding you the iconic Rolling Stones song.
2. Search old newspaper archives
One of Google’s best-kept secrets is the newspaper archive that lets you leads printed newspapers and journals, sometimes dating back over 100 years! Go to news.google.com/newspapers if you want to have a burrow through history. You can even search for keywords within the printed newspapers in question. Very clever.
3. Search Exact Phrases
If you’re looking for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around the keywords to view results containing that exact phrase. For example,
"how to dual boot ubuntu and windows 10”
4. Exclude a word
If your search terms contain a keyword with several meanings, you can exclude one of the meanings by adding a hyphen (-) before the keyword. For example,
the martian -book
5. Search a specific domain
You can search within a particular URL by including the term
site:example.com before or after your keywords.
6. Generate similar content
To generate content similar to what’s found on a URL you already know, use the
related: operator before adding the URL.
7. Search for words in body copy
To retrieve pages where all the keywords appear in the body of the page, type
allintext: before the search term.
8. Find pages that link to specific URLs
link: before a URL name, and you’ll be shown all the pages on Google that link to it. This is particularly useful for SEOs who are searching for backlinks to a specific page.
9. Perform calculations on Google Search
You can simply type in the equation and get the result instantly. You can use either the letter “x” or “*” as the multiply symbol on your PC, while “/” is the division symbol.
10. Convert between units
Whether it’s meters to centimeters, feet to yards, or liters to those obscure British gallons, Google has you covered. Just type
convert followed by the numbers and units you want to use, and hit Enter.
11. Search by file type
If you’re looking for a specific file on the Web, you can use the
filetype: operator to specify the particular document type you’re searching for, and Google will restrict results to pages containing those document types.
12. Find your public IP address
Need your IP address? type
ip address. Simple.
13. You don’t need a dictionary; just ask Google
define followed by the word you want to know the meaning of
14. You can view flight schedules on Google.
To find out flight schedules, simply use the keyword
flight origin to destination. For example,
flight lagos to abuja.
15. And translate from one language to another.
You can either visit Google Translate to get your translation done or just use the
translate keyword in Google to translate the text to another language.
16. Use Google as a countdown timer.
This is pretty handy. Just search
timer for x minutes and Google will automatically start the countdown for you.
17. Track your packages
If you’re based in the US, just enter your UPS, USPS or FedEx tracking number directly into Google to see tracking information about your package.
The Bottom Line
By now you should be feeling like a Google Pro. There are, however, plenty more such tricks you can use to improve your Google quality of life. Do you have any Google Search tips that you think we’ve missed? Let us know what they are in the comments, and if we like them, we’ll add them!
This article was updated in Aug 2017