10 tricks for an effective Google search

There are secrets that the most seasoned Googlers come across when they search. While most others are still in the dust combing through the myriad of search results, knowing these 10 effective ways to search will make all the difference in getting what you really want.

Whenever we try to use Google to find an answer to a specific question, we are overwhelmed with thousands of results. It can be overwhelming and misleading until you know how to search on Google with these effective tips. Here are 10 best Google search secrets that I’ve put to good use.

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Google has denied manipulating search results.

Google has denied manipulating search results.
(iStock)

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1. Use the tabs provided by Google

Note that when you search Google, you get different tabs as soon as you hit enter. You have the option to search for images, news, maps and shopping. It even includes a “More” tab that gives you more search options like videos, books, and flights. Depending on what you’re looking for, these tabs can help cut your search time in half and give you the specific results you need.

Screenshot of combat boots for sale.

Screenshot of combat boots for sale.
(Fox News)

2. Search with double quotes

If you’re asking a very specific question or searching for a specific term, you may find it beneficial to type what you’re looking for in quotation marks before hitting Enter. If you try to search for a term like a filtered water bottle and you don’t include quotation marks, Google will search for anything containing those four words.

Screenshot of a Google search for a filtered water bottle without the quotes in the search bar.

Screenshot of a Google search for a filtered water bottle without the quotes in the search bar.
(Fox News)

But if you put “water bottle with filter” in quotes, Google then knows to search for that specific term and therefore gives you what you are looking for.

Screenshot of a Google search for water bottles with quotes.

Screenshot of a Google search for water bottles with quotes.
(FoxNews.)

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3. Use a colon to search specific sites

Sometimes when you search, you are looking for information from a specific website. For example, if you are looking for information about baseball player Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, simply Googling his name will bring up countless articles from all different websites about the athlete.

Screenshot of a Google search for Aaron Judge.

Screenshot of a Google search for Aaron Judge.
(Fox News)

However, if you specifically want to only view articles from the official MLB website on Judge, all you have to do is type Aaron Judge website: mlb.comand the results will be any MLB articles published about him.

MLB Google search for Aaron Judge.

MLB Google search for Aaron Judge.
(Fox News)

4. Use the asterisk as a wildcard

This is a particularly helpful tip when you’re trying to look up the name of a song or movie you can’t remember the name of. Using an asterisk in a Google search leaves a placeholder in your search that can later be automatically filled in by the search engine. For example, if you try to type the words “o *can*Google can type those words and show you the results for the Stars and Stripes.

Screenshot of a Google search with asterisks.

Screenshot of a Google search with asterisks.
(Fox News)

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5. Look for websites similar to other websites

Many people have websites that are their one-stop shop when they want to buy something, but constantly searching the same website can get a bit tedious. If you want to broaden your horizons and explore other websites but aren’t sure how you can just ask Google to give you websites related to your favorite website. For example, if you search for ‘Related: cvs.com‘, then Google will show you other website options similar to cvs.com.

Screenshot of a Google search for sites similar to CVS.

Screenshot of a Google search for sites similar to CVS.
(Fox News)

6. Use + or – in your search

By using a + or – sign in your search, you can add or subtract details and get closer to what you’re looking for. For example, if you want to find a good brand of toothpaste but don’t want to use Crest, you can search toothpaste comb and Google gives you a variety of other toothpaste brands.

Google search for toothpastes to demonstrate using plus and minus signs in google.

Google search for toothpastes to demonstrate using plus and minus signs in google.
(Fox News)

If you want to add something specific to your search, you can use the + sign. For example, if you are looking for a polka dot maxi dress, you can type it Maxi dress + polka dots and it will give you just that.

Screenshot of a google search for a maxi dress with plus and minus signs.

Screenshot of a google search for a maxi dress with plus and minus signs.
(Fox News)

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7. Use advanced Google search

You can skip all these tricks if you don’t want to learn and just go straight to the Google Advanced Search option. It has various modifier settings already built in so you can get as specific as possible. Just type Advanced Search Go to your Google tab and click the first link for the Advanced Search page.

Screenshot of an advanced search in Google.

Screenshot of an advanced search in Google.
(Fox News)

8. Set time restrictions

If you google something, you’ll find that there’s a Tools button just below the search bar after you hit enter. If you click on it, Google will give you the option to change your search by time. Suppose you wanted to find articles published about the Apple iPhone within the last week. All you would have to do is type iPhone in the search bar, Select Tools and change the time option to the past week.

Google search for iPhones.

Google search for iPhones.
(Fox News)

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9. Solve math equations

If you want to run math equations in a fun and fast way, you can just google them. If you enter an equation, e.g 25*43 it will immediately spit out the answer. And if you want to create more equations, the site offers you a full calculator keyboard to solve anything you want.

Screenshot showing how to solve math equations with Google.

Screenshot showing how to solve math equations with Google.
(Fox News)

10. Search for specific file types

If you are looking for a document in a specific file type like PDF or PowerPoint, there is a way to search for it as well. For example, you may want to read some Shakespeare plays online and find it easiest to read them in PDF format. To search for it, type Shakespeare plays File type: pdf and Google only gives you PDF results.

Screenshot of a Google search for a Shakespeare play, demonstrating a Google search for specific file types.

Screenshot of a Google search for a Shakespeare play, demonstrating a Google search for specific file types.
(Fox News)

For more of my Google tips, visit CyberGuy.com, search “Google” and subscribe to my free newsletter.

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