Google currently dominates the search engine market and looks set to continue to do so in the near future especially with millions of people having Google set as their homepage. Given that so many use Google for so many reasons, this tutorial should help you be more efficient with your searching.
Country Specific Search
Google provides on its index page the option to search just within your particular country, which is often very useful, for example place names of course exist in different countries, so searching for "Hampshire" and "pages within the UK" should ensure no results are related to New Hampshire in the US. Google already tailors results relative to your residing country, but this can further narrow down your search.
Google Advanced Search
An obvious place to start and one that is often overlooked is to click on the advanced search link just next to the box where you enter your topic to search for. This page can be very useful, especially if you know you are searching within a very broad topic. It includes the options for 'all of the words', 'exact phrase', 'at least one of the words' and 'without the words' as well as language options, regional searches and dates among others.
Google Searching Quick Tips
Some of the options available from the advanced search page are available as shortcuts by using of some of the following characters with your search. I have also included some other useful tricks that are less commonly used, but that can proved very useful in filtering search results.
Google can provide you with useful web-sourced definitions to terms by using the following search - "define: consulting". This brings up a page with different definitions and the websites that they have been taken from.
"Quotation Mark" SearchPlacing quotation marks around your search keywords ensures that the words are searched as a complete phrase. This is perhaps most useful when searching for someone s name. Using "John Smith" in quotation marks ensures pages are found that have both terms, and not all the pages that contain John and all the pages that contain Smith. This performs the same function as the "+" search.
"File Type" Search
It is possible to refine your Google search so that only certain file types are shown in the search results. Adding in "filetype:" is the text to enter. An example would be "economic development in India filetype:pdf", given that offical and academic reports often are in pdf format, this could ensure your search results are of a higher quality and more reliable.
Makes Google search for pages that contain both or either of the chosen words. For "example flats london or paris" would give you results that had "flats in london" or "flats in paris"
To search for synonyms of a work, use the ~ before your word. Such an example would be "~internet ~facts" yields results about internet statistics, trivia, databases etc.
"Fill in the Blanks" Search
If you need an answer to a question you can use an * where the words or answer are missing. For example "* is the queen of england", or "George Bush was born in *"
If a certain site doesn't have great searching facilities, or you just want to save time you can rely on google to show you all a site s indexed pages. Searching for "business site:bbc.co.uk" shows all pages that are within the bbc.co.uk site that are related to business.
To improve the speed of searching and the accuracy of results, Google excludes common words such as to, when, where etc. If these are essential to your search to narrow it, there is a solution - by adding in the "+" before the word you want to include. Entering "Back to the Future +3" would ensure only sites that are talking about the 3rd film would show up.
Including a "-" sign in your search rather obviously excludes the terms you want. If you know you are likely to receive results from online shops it may make sense to include "-store" or "-merchant" with your other keywords.
Google neatly allows you to search within certain data ranges if you tell it to by using two full stops (or periods if you are American) and no space. For example - "Coldplay CD £5.. £8". This type of search is perhaps sometimes useful, although I have personally found this to be the most limited of Google s extra search features.
This post by Philipp Lenssen is interesting:
Thanks for that Hummerbie, you're right it's an important search technique.