Advanced google searching

Google search is a pretty easy tool to use from the get go, but we have all been searching for something a little more awkward than normal that means we end up searching through pages and pages of results until we actually get what we need. This maybe because the website is obscure or maybe because the words we are searching for appear for many types of websites, maybe the words have several meanings and this can lead to an array of results on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Search engines however are aware of this and do offer you a multitude of tools for you to give it a better understanding of what you are actually looking for and hopefully meaning you will get more accurate and quicker results from google and other search engines.


Search Modifiers

These are useful when you know exactly what your looking for and you want to make sure that Google gives you the most accurate results, filtering out all the other things that could be related to your terms.

The “-” minus modifier – by placing a minus sign in front of a word in the search box, you are telling google that you want to exclude searches with that word in the results. For example a search for Manchester city will probably bring up a lot of results about the football club. However if you want results based on the actual city of Manchester, the searching for Manchester City -football , will give you a much better set of results to look at. You can use multiple minuses in the search to get even more accurate results.

The “OR” Modifier – Seldom used, the OR modifier (must be in Upper case) will ask google to bring up different but related searches, an example here would be if you wanted to look for multiple capital cities, you could search for what is the Capital city of Spain OR France, this will bring up a set of results that include the information about Madrid or Paris.

Quotations – Using Quotation marks around your search query will ask google to search for websites containing exactly what text you place between the quotes. You have to be careful here with any miss spellings as this will hamper your results, Google will normally correct spellings but in this instance you are asking for an exact match. This is very useful when you are searching for quotes from films or song lyrics and don’t know what they are from. Searching for “you dirty rat” will bring up the miss quoted term from the film Taxi, while without the quotations will add some other sites about dirty rats in to the mix as well as the film quote.

Search Qualifiers

Search qualifiers tell google where you want to search for your phrase, as you might know a little more about the area you are looking for but need an exact page.

Specific Site – If you know which site you want your information from but you just need to find it, then you can inform google that you only want it to search a specific site, to do this, enter your search term followed by you must enter the full domain with the .com,, or whatever the sites domain is. So to find this article, you would search advanced google searching

Only in the titles – Occasionally you might want articles where you know the whole page is about your chosen subject, a good way to do this is to search titles only, as this will likely bring pages where the whole webpage is about what you are looking for. To do this type intitle: then the words you want appear in the title. Example intitle:carp will bring up webpages with carp in the title, You can add to this with a search term before the title search as well. Searching for local fish breeders intitle:carp, will do a normal search for local fish breeders but only return results with carp in the title.

for multiple terms in the title search you must use allintitle:, if you want carp and breeders in the title then you would type allintitle:carp breeders. Simply using intitle:carp breeders would return results that contain either of those phrases.

Only in URL – Not a common modifier any more due to the nature or many dynamic websites and how they display there URL’s but if you wished to have your search term only come back with sites that the phrase is in the Url then you would use inurl:searchterm, and allinurl:searchterm ,in the same way as the intitle modifier.

Text Only Search – On a normal search google will take in to account the text in the title the URL and main body of text to return the results, sometimes the titles of some webpages can be a little misleading to the actual content of the webpage, if you come up against this type of barrier then the using intext:searchterm, this will tell google to ignore the URL and title when searching and only return results where your search term appears in the main body of the text. You can also use allintext: in the same way as the title and URL searches.




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