10 Quick Google Search Tips to Find What You Need Faster

Lineup of random tools: stethoscope, wrench, compass, magnifying glass and more

How did we ever get along without Google? With its mix of simplicity and breadth of information, there’s little doubt that it’s king of the mountain when it comes to search engines.

While most of us use Google for basic search, just under the surface there’s a wealth of information to help make your searches more effective. Instead of searching for an airline’s website and hunting down flight information there, have Google give it straight to you. Instead of finding a site that tells you when sunrise is, just let Google tell you. From searching within a specific website to finding books by a specific author, Google has it all.

Below we’ve collected 10 of our favorite Google search tips. Try them out and leave your favorites in the comments section.

1. Exclude Certain Words From Search

Sometimes what you’re searching for is close to another, more popular search term. For example, let’s say you’re searching for home brewing coffee and don’t want to see posts about home brewing beer. You can just add a space and a dash after your search query, and after the dash enter the word you don’t want searched. Our example would look like this:

Home brewing –beer

You’ll still get ads that include the word after the dash, but the actual search results will exclude the word. Extremely useful for cutting out the junk and getting down to what you’re looking for.

2. Filter Recipe Searches

Ingredient filter box on Google recipe search results

If recipes are your thing, you can use Google to not only find great recipes, but filter the searches from right inside Google before visiting any sites. You can narrow your search by cook time, calorie count, and even by including or excluding specific ingredients.

After searching for a recipe, just click the Search tools button and filter away.

3. Search Within a Website

Sometimes you know the information you need is on a specific website, you just don’t know where. Instead of hunting through the site, why not just have Google find it for you?

Sure, most sites have a search feature, but Google is far better at searching than any of those sites are. Let’s say you want to search the Scrubly site for “productivity.” Just enter the following before your search term:

site:Scrubly.com productivity

This will only search Scrubly.com for the term productivity. Replace the term and the site URL with your specific info, and you’re off to the races.

4. Only Search Page Titles

Using intitle: operator in a Google search

What if you only want to find a site that has the term you’re searching for in the title? Google searches a variety of pieces when you click Search, which can be either good or very annoying.

By using the intitle: operator, you can tell Google to only return results where your query is in the page title. For example:

intitle:pomodoro technique

Make sure there’s no space after the colon, and your results will all have the query in the title.

5. Do Quick Conversions

Conversion box for teaspoons to tablespoons in Google search

Let’s say you used tip #2 and found a recipe you love, but there’s a problem. You don’t know how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, and you need to know this for the recipe you found.

Google has you covered. Instead of finding a site or app that tells you how to convert, Google can do the conversion for you. Just enter this into the search box:

teaspoon to tablespoon

You’ll get a conversion box that pops up and gives you the conversion. You can click the drop-downs and choose any measurements to convert, all right within Google.

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

6. Search for Specific File Types

Using filetype operator in Google search

There are a lot of different file types out there on the Internet. From PDFs to MP3s to JPGs, there’s quite a bit to sort through. So how do you find a PDF without pictures, music, and Word documents coming up? How do you find a PowerPoint presentation instead of a website or a movie?

Google lets you search by file type so your results have just what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a PowerPoint presentation on productivity methods, enter this into the search box:

Productivity filetype:PPT

Now all your results will have PowerPoint files attached to them. No hunting sites for hidden files and poorly organized structures. Every result is a winner.

7. Quotation Marks Make It Specific

Sometimes the vagueness of a Google search is great, and sometimes it’s annoying. Say you’re searching for the Pomodoro Technique and you don’t want sites that just have the word “technique” in them. To make sure Google searches for the exact words you entered and in the proper order, enclose your query in quotation marks:

“Pomodoro Technique”

Google will only return results that have those words together, in that order. This is a great way to clear out the junk when searching for something specific.

8. Search in a Date Range

If your search is timelier in nature, then Google’s date range search is perfect. Let’s say you’re searching for info about snow in Boston but you don’t want to include 2015, since there was a record amount of snow. Instead, you want to know about the city’s snow from the last 5 years. You’d search like this:

boston snow 2014..2009

Enter your search term followed by a space, then enter the first year followed by two dots, and then the second year. This searches inside a date range, so it would be perfect for #1 hits between 1999 and 2001, as well as sports scores, news… you name it, and if it’s date-specific this search will get it done.

9. Define a Word

Definiton of the word productivity in Google search
One of the simpler search tips is using Google to define a word. All you have to do is place the word “define” before the word you want defined, and Google will do the rest. For example:

Define productivity

10. Basic Info Right Inside Google

There’s a lot more Google can do when it comes to finding out specific information. For example, if you know a flight number, you can search for it and get the actual flight information without having to navigate another site. Just enter the carrier name along with the flight number.

Flight information in Google search results

If you want to know when sunrise or sunset is, just search for sunrise or sunset and you’ll see it for your area. Add a location and you’ll see the info for there, too.

Location sunset info in Google search results

Finally, if you want to know what books your favorite author has written, or all the songs by a specific artist, just search for them. For example:

Stephen King books

You’ll get a sorted list of all their works. This works for movies, television shows, books, songs, albums… just about any type of media.

List of Stephen King books with cover images in Google search results

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