30 Ways To Turn Yourself Into A Google Search Pro

Posted by Lee Crockett on

“Simply Zesty is a fabulous web resource, and it's a place I stop by regularly. This is one of the most thorough articles on Google search that I've seen. I see dozens of articles, but it's not often that one draws me in. I found myself saying, "I didn't know that, I can really use this!" This is one of those pages that you should bookmark as a how-to and share it with your students. We, (students and us), get very lazy at this, typing in a few words and taking the first link that's thrown at us. Search smart, there's lots of great content out there!”

via Simply Zesty

Since it first came onto the scene in 1998, Google has grown exponentially, delving into different areas like mobile, technology, broadband, and mapping. However, the jewel in its crown has always been search, where is regularly improved and fine-tuned.

However, because there are so many changes, chances are you missed a lot of them and you’re only using search for its most basic purpose. There are many tips and tricks that will help you refine your search results and whether you already know them or not, it’s always nice to have a review of just what it can do for you.

Search Bar

Search by site
If you want to search for something on a particular site, simply write “site:” and the address after it (e.g. “site:simplyzesty.com”). The results that appear will relate to that site alone. If you have Google Chrome, typing in a website address and pressing tab will let you do the same thing.


Find A Word’s Meaning
If there’s a new word you’ve come across, but don’t know the meaning, write “Define:” and the word after it. The word’s meaning will appear in the first search result you see.

Find Specific Words Or Phrase
When you type words into the search bar, Google will look for those words separately (e.g. if you typed in ‘spicy foods,’ you will get results containing both words separately as well as similar words). However, if there’s a specific phrase that you’re looking for, type in your query, but use quotations instead. This will narrow down the results and you will see results that contain that exact phrase.

Measurement & Currency Converter
Alongside calculating numbers, Google can also be used to convert metrics or currencies. Simply type what measurement or currency you want converted.

Search Flights
If you’re based in the U.S., you can look up flight prices and times by typing in the airport codes. You will get a quick summary of that flight.

Look Up Time Zone
Simply typing “Time in x” will give you the correct time (and time zone) for a particular city or country. Alternatively you can write “time:”, which will give you the same results.

Google Calculator
Not only will Google calculate simple math for you, but it can even answer the more complex questions. Just enter in the sum you want calculated and Google will work it out for you.

What’s The Weather Like?
Similarly, typing “weather:” and the place of interest will give you the current weather as well as a forecast of the next three days.

If you’re searching on a mobile browser, you will get an interactive ticker which lets you preview the weather from a specific time or day.

Advanced Search

Find a Specific Type Of File
If you know the file type you’re looking for, type in “filetype:” to find specific files relating to your search. For example, “filetype:pdf Twitter” will present you with PDF files relating to Twitter.

Ignore Words
Simply place a hyphen before the word you want removed (social media -Facebook). Any search results that have said word will be excluded.

Include Similar Words
Sometimes you may want to search for a specific word, but also want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. Placing the “~” symbol in front of the second word will do this for you. So if you write ~happy, Google will also look for similar words like joy and pleasant.

Find Linked Pages
If you want to search for pages that link to your own page or website, typing in “link:” and the website will bring these up.

Look For Related Sites
Type in “related:” and then your website (no spaces) to find other websites that are similar to the one you entered.

Search For Title
Writing “intitle:” and your word will search for websites with that title in it. Handy if you’re looking for a specific article or blog post.

Search Within Range
If you’re researching something that falls into a certain value (price range, years, etc.), you can place an ellipsis (the … symbol) between the two values to search between them (e.g.: €100…€150). This is handy if you’re looking for something within a certain budget or want statistics from a certain time.

Search For URL
Similar to the last one, writing “inurl:” will search for any URLs containing those words.

Look At Stock Performance
If you know a stock’s code, you can type the stock itself in capitals (e.g.: GOOG) or you can write “stock:” which will give you the same results.

Movie Listings
If you’re heading out and you want to see what movies are in the cinema, just enter the cinema’s name and you will get a quick preview of the movies and times in that cinema.

Advanced Search
If your search has a number of different criteria, it’s best to go into Google’s advanced search function which lets you enter in a number of different criteria together.

Side Bar

Search Within A Certain Time Frame
When you’ve looking at search results, you can search within a specific time frame located on the left-hand side. You can search within the past hour, day, week, month, year or enter in your own time frame to find the information you want. This is handy if you’re looking for an article or post that you know was posted recently.

Reading Level
Just underneath the time frame option is an extended list to help refine your search. One is reading level, which looks at and rates each page based on its reading difficulty. Not only does this help those who don’t have English as their first language, but can be used to find pages that explain certain concepts in an easy to understand manner.

Search Discussions
Forums can be a great way of finding answers to a particular query, and chances are that someone has asked it or something similar. Searching by discussion will present you with numerous forums relating to that query.

Search for Apps
Because mobile is becoming a greater part of our lives, you can also search for apps too. Clicking “Applications” on the left-hand side will bring up related apps for the major smartphone operators and for browsers.

Translate Foreign Sites
If you’re looking for a site from a different country, but cannot speak its language, you can search for translated results instead. You will find the option “Translated foreign pages” which will present foreign pages that will be automatically translated.

Search Using Image
On Google Image search, you can search for an image (and similar looking images) by dragging an image file from your desktop onto the search bar. Google will then factor this image into its results and present you with identical and similar images.

See What Other Users Search For
Google Trends is a handy way of seeing what terms users are searching for and is a great way of measuring just how popular a topic is. By going into trends, entering in your search query will generate the number of times it’s been entered as well as related searches.

Mobile Search

Search Through Writing
If you have Chrome for iOS or Android, you can search without having to type. When you’re on google.com, simply turn on writing mode – symbolised by a ‘g’ – and you can use the touchscreen to write your search query. It works better when you write 3-4 characters at a time, but you can write anywhere on the screen and Google will recognise it.

Search By Location
When you turn on location services on mobile or desktop, Google will present you results relevant to your current location. Alternatively, you can enter in a postcode to find results based on that area.

Search With Camera
If you have the Google Search app installed on your smartphone (Android or iOS), you can search by using the camera instead of typing by using Google Goggles. Take an image will present you with a number of search results.

Search With Voice
As well as using your camera, you can search by voice too. Just say what you want to search for and Google will do the rest.


  1. maxine

    Incredible!!!! I will definetely pass this on to all my colleagues at my school.

  2. Pingback: School 2.0 in South Africa - School 2.0 Bookmarks (weekly)

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