Search Tricks (advanced search features)

In a few words

Searching the internet is easy: just open your browser and type in what you want to know. Is it really? Have you ever noticed how many items you have to skip in the results list before you get what you want? Most of the time, at the top of the list there are results that are there because somebody paid for it. And if you want to find something a bit more complex, you have to work through a lot of false or even misleading stuff.

But there are some easy tricks to get you to your results much quicker. We will show you some of them.

Google (and other search engines as well) by default search for all words you put in.

Foto by Anna Shvets

So if you are looking for a specific person, for example, Mike Miller, Google will give you a list of persons with the name Mike and those with the surname Miller.

An easy way to avoid that is to put the name in quotation marks: “Mike Miller” will give you only results with this complete name. You could also use this trick for other things. Whatever you enclose in quotation marks will give you only results that contain the exact phrase.

Another useful option is to put filetype before your search. So if you are looking for PDFs for example, try it: brownie recipe filetype:pdf will give you a list of PDF documents with recipes for brownies.

A last quick tip: if you need to convert units, try the “in” operator. For example: 12 feet in cm converts the measurement and gives you the metric equivalent.

If you want to know more, please check our links at the end of this chapter.

Let’s dive deeper

Google (and other search engines as well) have been designed to make it easy to find anything on the web. But since Google is a company that wants to earn money, they have come up with a couple of ways to make that possible.

Most of the time you search for something, you will see advertisements and sponsored content. Sometimes these are made to look like something genuine, so for example, if you are looking for some tests because you need to buy a new washing machine, you will get some results at the top of your list that look like genuine test platforms. But most of them are not.

If you want to know more about a country or region, you will get a lot of recommendations for hotels or vacation homes or even flights.

While this sometimes might be useful, it most often is not. It can take a lot of your time and energy to sort through the long results list before you finally see what you have been looking for.

Fortunately, there are some tricks that can help you get there faster. They are called “search operators”. Please do not let yourself be scared by this technical term. Looking at some examples, you will see how easy they are.

To be clear: you will find whatever you seek without these advanced search techniques, but it will take much longer. And sometimes it is cool, to know a special trick – isn’t it?

Here is a list of the most common and useful search operators and an example of their usage:

“” (Quotation marks)searches only for the complete phrase“Mike Miller”
ANDsearches for results that must contain both termsGates AND Jobs
ORsearches for terms that contain one word or the otherBiden OR Trump
site:searches only on the website specifiedNFL site:
filetype:lists only results with the given filetypebrownie recipe filetype: pdf
define:searches for the definition of a word or phrasedefine: memory
movie:lists information about the movie and its castmovie: Top Gun
in:converts units12 EUR in GBP
weather:gives back the weather for the specified locationweather: Ljubljana

Just try them for fun and keep what you like and find most useful.

Useful links:

Advanced Google search operators

Search quicker