18 awesome tips to make you a Google Search expert

If you are a person like me who spends most of his time in the virtual world – Google is perhaps your best friend, philosopher and guide. But many a times you don’t get the desired results in your Google search or it takes more time and efforts than you expected. And you never liked the extra time and effort that you had to spend. May be you could have spent that precious time with your ‘better than the best’ friends! So, to help you do that – I’ve compiled an expert list of 18 quick tips. This will definitely help you become an expert Googler. So, here you go…

1. Explicit Phrases:
If you want all of the phrases to be part of search then use all of them within double quotes. For example, suppose you are searching for next marketing guru. Instead of using the next marketing guru as four separate words in the search box use “the next marketing guru”.

2. Either OR:
By default Google searches for all the terms in your search query so it basically uses AND operator. When you want to search for either of the terms then use the OR operator. Note that – you can also use pipe operator (||) in place of OR.

Example: “TNMG OR the next marketing guru”

3. Excluding Words:
Good Googling is not just searching for what you want but also avoiding what you don’t want. To avoid the unwanted results just type the minus (-) sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

Example: suppose you want to search for the content for “the next marketing guru” but you don’t want the results that contain the term “blog” then in the search box type the following: the next marketing guru –blog

4. Synonyms:
How many times you included a word in the search but thought it would have been better if Google could search for the synonyms as well. What your need to do is just place the tilde sign (~) immediately in front of your search term.

Example: “~fast cars”

5. Word Definitions:
Many a times I was searching for the definition of a word and had to first search for a dictionary website and then only could search the meaning of the word. To cut the process really short simply use the “define:” command.

Example: “define:serendipity”

6. Specify Document Type:
Imagine you have a presentation in 5 minutes and you are yet to start your PPT. It would have been just great if you could directly get a PPT to present. Believe me – you can. You just need to add the modifier “filetype:ppt”. You can use other file extensions (doc, pdf) etc as well.

Example: “the next marketing guru filetype:ppt”

7. Calculator:
Of course you have your desktop or hand calculator for the purpose. But your Google browser window which is already open is as good as or even more convenient. Just type the expression and then equal (=) sign.

Example: “4/2-1*3+5=” or “2^10” or “20% of 500”

8. Unit Conversion:
Did you know that you can convert between many different units of measurement of height, weight, and volume using Google? This is a very powerful tool and can be used for numerous other conversions like converting temperature.

Examples: “10.5 cm in inches” or “10 gallon in litres” or “100F in C”.

9. Currency Converter:
This is very similar to the unit conversion and the syntax is similar as well.

Example: “150 GBP in USD”.

10. Public Data:
How much time did you spent searching for data like population, unemployment rates and other data of some city, state or country? Now it’s easy. Type “population” or “unemployment rate” followed by a state or county name. Note that – these commands should work for all major cities, states and countries – but may be not for all.

Examples: “population Kolkata”; “unemployment rate India”; “area West Bengal”; “Chief Minister Delhi” etc.

11. Time:
Knowing the current time of a city is now so simple. And you don’t need multiple clocks installed in your room or desktop. Just type the ‘time’ and then the city name.

Example: “time Jamshedpur”

12. Weather:
Planning for a trip to India’s financial capital? You might be interested to know the weather of your destination. Just type ‘weather’ followed by the city name.

Example: “weather Mumbai”.

13. Site Specific Search:
Sometimes you want to restrict your search to one website which is relevant to you. For that use “site:” modifier.

Example: “the next marketing guru” site:http://www.tnmg4u.com/

14. Number Ranges:
This might be used rarely but can be very useful in some situations. To specify a range of numbers in your search query use the format X..Y i.e. the lower limit (X) followed by two period (..) and then the upper limit (Y).

Example: Say, you want to purchase a laptop but your budget is between $100 to $150 – then you can use the following search query “Laptop $100..150”.

15. Related Websites:
If you want to search the pages which are related to a specific website then you can type the command “related:” followed by the website address.

Example: “related:www.xlri.ac.in”.

16. Plus (+) Operator:
The ‘+’ operator is used to search for exact word search. Say, you want to search an exact word and don’t want any plural or other tenses or synonyms of the word to be part of your search results. Then place the ‘+’ operator immediately before the word. A special use of this operator will be in the case of common words. As you might know, Google ignores common words and characters such as the, how, and other digits and letters that slow down your search without improving the results. In case a common word is essential for your search then Plus (+) Operator just before that word

Example: “+the next marketing guru”

17. Fill in the Blank:
You had done those ‘fill in the blank’ type questions during your school days. But not needed any more. Now, Google can do it for you. You just need to use the asterisk (*) where the blank is.

Example: “next * guru”. This search query will search for the words next and guru separated by one or more words.

The ‘*’ operator might also be used to ask a question and let Google find the answer for you.

Example: “TNMG means *”

18. I’m Feeling Lucky:
The last but not the least! Have you noticed the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button just right of the “Google Search” button and wondered what’s that? This is just to save your time – it takes you directly to first web page returned for your query.

So, that’s it! Hope these tips will be useful. The list is definitely not comprehensive. But with these you can definitely give tough competition to even the best Googlers out there. In case, you know about some more useful tips on Googling please share in comments so that others can also benefit. We would love to hear back from you. :D

This entry was posted in Featured and tagged , , , by Dr. Angshu. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dr. Angshu

Dr. Angshu is the founder and owner of TNMG: The Next Marketing Guru. He is a PhD and MBA in Marketing from XLRI Jamshedpur. Currently he is leading large scale marketing, research & analytics projects as part of Strategy & Insights team at Star India, India’s no. 1 Media & Entertainment company. In his last job, he was heading Consumer Insights function for Spice Group. Earlier he has worked for Wipro Technologies and managed IT projects for marketing division of a Fortune 100 company. Dr. Angshu is a Visiting Professor at XLRI and IMT Ghaziabad. He has published multiple research papers on marketing, social media and luxury consumption. Recently he has published a book titled “Influence 2.0: How Social Media WOM Influences You" published by reputed international publishing house Lambert Publishing. Other than work and academics, he is a social media addict, big foodie and amateur pianist. You can contact him by: Gmail | Facebook | LinkedIn

7 thoughts on “18 awesome tips to make you a Google Search expert

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  2. “Imagine you have a presentation in 5 minutes and you are yet to start your PPT. It would have been just great if you could directly get a PPT to present. Believe me – you can.”

    …And deliver it sight-unseen to your key audience. Great, until your pirated PPT on “Making Social Marketing in 2010” turns out to be about social marketing in the P*RN industry! 🙂

    Seriously though, here's two other tip. If you make the same Google query repeatedly, you can bypass the Google search page to save time and ensure accuracy. Just clip the URL from the Results page and save it in a Word or Excel document (any document that automatically converts URLs to clickable links). Then, when you need to re-run the search, open your document and click the link. I have dozens of saved searches.

    Secondly, if you've just made a fairly complex search and want to vary it slightly, there's no need to return to the Google search page. Just tweak the URL for the Results page and press Return. Voila, a new, updated Results page.

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