Four Useful Ways to use Google effectively

We use Google everyday, but how many of us use it effectively? As you know Google has many search features but nobody uses all the features fully. Usually a typical Google user would just type words in the search box and scan the results. But this is not the most effective way to find something.

I would like to cover some of the most important search rules in this post. They are simple rules but when used correctly, will get you the gems in the search results.

1. Searching by phrase

By default when you search Google it will show you the results that have the keywords that you searched for, as long as those words are mentioned in the page url, page title or page content it will show up in the Google results. For example searching cool CSS tools would display results that have these three keywords. Results might look like this:

However when you put your keyword between quotes ”  “, the results will show only the pages that have all three words together (eg: “Cool CSS Tools“)

2. Search by filetype (i.e pdf, doc, exe..etc)

google search for pdf files

This is a great way to find resources, especially if you are looking for specific file types. For example typing Introduction to Investment:pdf in Google and hitting search will return (some) results in PDF format. Why some only? Because it is possible that there might be no pdf files for the search-term that you have just entered.

3. Finding Word Definitions

When you are searching for some definition you can just type deine:SEARCHTERM and google will display the definition of that word. For example typing define:www and hitting search will show lots of definitions from various sites for the word WWW, see screenshot below.

Extra Tip: -word +word

When you use minus_and_keyword like this -cool css tools, Google will only show the results (pages) that do not have words cool on it. All the pages that have cool word in it will be dropped. That means Google will only display CSS Tools related pages that do not contain Cool word on them.

As for the plus sign before the word, it will find pages that have that particular word. Eg: +Cool CSS Tools, this will show pages that have Cool keyword on them.

Your favorite feature
These tips should be enough to use Google effectively. If you have your own favorite feature that you use often, share with us in comments.

All Google SE Features