The Secrets of Google Syntax

Googling something? Not finding what you’re looking for? Well, you might be going about it the wrong way.

Learning to use search operators is your ticket to getting the information you want in the most efficient manner possible. These queries put in a request for the search engine to perform specified actions that relate to your entered keywords. Please see mini-how to guide below:

How would you search for an exact word or phrase?

When googling an exact word or phrase, put the search query in a pair of quotation marks. It should be noted that this is only handy when you require precise results.

e.g. “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”

How would you search for something on a specific site?

This query limits Google to bringing up results from a single domain address.

e.g. new york times site: jobs

How would you correctly search for a definition?

Including the query “define:” before the term tells Google to dig up the most relevant definition as the featured result.

e.g. define: interoperability

How would you search for a specific product available within a specific price range?

A quick way to price compare items using a search engine is to identify the product and then establish your price range.

e.g. tablet $200..$600

How would you search for a specific filetype?

Use of the operator “filetype:” calls for Google to restrict it’s search to results that include the specified extension.

e.g. filetype: pjtf

How would you include or ignore words in your search?

Performing a general keyword search can become all the more guided when including “-” and “+” operators. These will sort through the results and either eliminate or bring up top the most relevant leads.

e.g. ebooks -ipad +kindle

How would you find related pages?

Can’t remember the name of a website but know that its content is a lot like one you frequently visit? Include the “related:” operator, enter the known website in the keyword search and wait for all similar sites to show up in the results. Also a great way to discover new websites!

e.g. related:

How would you find a topic, searching all available synonyms of a word?

Use of a tilde before your keyword will task Google with bringing up synonyms and online thesauri.

e.g. ~antonym

How would you find the time in another country?

Typing the word “time” in front of a geographical location will provide you with an up-to-the-minute result.

e.g. time Pretoria

How would you find out how many Egyptian pounds you get for $20 Canadian dollars?

For this, simply type “[currency #1] in [currency #2].”

e.g. 20 CAD to EGP = 133.36




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