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10 Top Secret Google Tips

Get better web search results, whether you're looking for something on a specific site or a Yellow Pages listing.

Google is one of the few indispensable tools of the Internet. It's free, it's fast, and its ability to tell you almost anything you want to know make it seem omniscient. The information isn't guaranteed to be accurate, but the instant gratification of searching has made "googling" a commonly understood verb, and made Google rankings--the amount a search produces--an increasingly relevant barometer of cultural awareness.

To make your googling even more efficient, we're going to introduce you to ten secret back-door tips that will help you maximize Google's performance to get the most out of your searches.

Tip 1 – Or

Instead of searching using multiple variations of a phrase, try adding the OR Boolean operator. Say you're trying to find Company X, but you can't remember if it's located in San Francisco or San Mateo. By adding OR, which can be abbreviated using the pipeline character |, you can search for both. For example:
"Company X" San (Francisco | Mateo)

This search will return results that contain Company X and either San Francisco or San Mateo, which can help cut down on trying a slew of Google searches with multiple variations of similar elements.

Tip 2 – Not

Even more powerful than the OR operator is the logic gate NOT. Don't want something included in your results? Exclude that term by adding NOT, which is signified by a negative sign (-) in front of that element. For example, to get information on coats but not coats of arms, try: coats -arms

In this search, Google will exclude all results that contain the term "arms." The term that can be excluded can be anything, and it's one of the most useful Google tools to clean up your searches for more relevant results.

Tip 3 – intitle

Another way to help narrow results is to limit results to terms listed in the title of a Web page only. A straight Google search for a biography on Abraham Lincoln, for example, might be cluttered with results from Lincoln, Nebraska or tourist information on the Lincoln Memorial; chances are that a full biography will be found in a Web page that contains the complete phrase "Abraham Lincoln" in its title. To search through just titles, use the intitle tag: intitle:"Abraham Lincoln"

This will spit out results that have the complete phrase Abraham Lincoln listed in the title of the page. That's the part displayed at the very top of your browser and governed by the

Tip 4 – inurl

Along the same lines as intitle, Google allows you to restrict your searches to URLs. This comes into play most often when you need to search through university or government domains but can't get past the heaps of unrelated information. For instance, searching for official information on Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the U.S. Government, you can search for information only on GOV domains: "Sandra Day O'Connor" inurl:.gov

Google will return results that contain the phrase "Sandra Day O'Connor" only from domains that include the suffix GOV. It's not limited to suffixes, however, works fine for the complete URL.

Tip 5 – site

The tag inurl will search across URLs, but to search for something across one individual domain, use the site tag, which is particularly useful when you're hunting for a needle in a haystack. For example, let's say you're running Windows XP and Internet Explorer starts crashing every time you try to open your bookmarks. Searching for either "Windows XP" "Internet Explorer" or "bookmarks" produces millions of results, most of which will be no help to you. To limit it to Microsoft's support database for Windows, try: "Windows XP" "Internet Explorer" "bookmarks" crash site:support.microsoft.com

Only results from support.microsoft.com that contain those three phrases will be returned.

Tip 6 – inanchor

If you know the filename of a program you're looking for, you can search for Web pages that link to it through the HTML anchor tag (the stuff that looks like

This will return any Web page that links to the file winamp.exe. You don't need the suffix EXE, but including it can eliminate irrelevant results.

Tip 7 – stocks

Did you know you can check the latest stock prices through a Google search? It's true. All you need to know is the stock symbol and the stocks tag and Google will automatically redirect you to the Yahoo! Finance page, which lists the current stock price and all its accompanying financial information. For example, to see how much Microsoft is currently trading for, enter: stocks:msft Within less than a second you'll be brought to the page on Yahoo! Finance listing its price (currently, around $25 a share). If you're using Firefox or the Google toolbar in Internet Explorer, stock prices are always one short Google search away.

Tip 8 – Phonebook

Google also contains business and residential telephone numbers, to access them just enter a person's name, state, and either the rphonenook or bphonebook tags. To find John Doe in New York, type: rphonebook: John Doe, NY

That will give you all the address and phone numbers listed for John Does in New York. What about the Yellow Pages though? No problem, try: bphonebook:Barnes & Noble, Los Angeles, CA

Google will display all the Barnes & Nobles listed in Los Angeles, California. Cities are optional but states are not.

Tip 9 – Wildcards

Wildcards, like asterisks (*) or question marks (?) that stand in as a blank placeholder when searching, have been around since the days of DOS. What you might not know is that you can use the asterisk in Google. For example, if you're looking for a directory of trees, but you don't know what organization to search under, you can enter a wildcard: "directory * trees"

Google will return results that include a directory of Christmas trees, a directory of evergreen trees, and soon. It's a powerful tool that can be used to expand a search when the results are too narrow.

Tip 10 - Mix & Match

Our final Google tip is the ability to mix and match some of the above tools. For instance, you can combine NOT with the site tag to exclude unwanted domains. Looking for information on O'Reilly's, the Irish Pub, but getting hits for O'Reilly the technology book publisher? Exclude oreilly.com: O'Reilly -site:oreilly.com

This will exclude all results from oreilly.com, helpful if a couple of unwanted domains are dominating your search results.

There are also more Google tags like cache, link, daterange, filetype, intext, info, filetype, and related that you can find on http://www.google.com/help/refinesearch.html.

1 comment:

Retta Matson said...

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