A comprehensive guide to effective Google search

Posted by Singapore Web Design Company on 2 January 2012

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In order to generate the required Google search results, here are some tips that could help enhance your searching skills:

  1. The best way to conduct in-depth search is to use the Advanced Search feature of Google. The feature allows you to narrow down your search results to exact phrases, all these words, or one of the specified keywords entered in the search box. You can restrict search results by typing in the Top Level Domain (.com.sg for example) in the box labeled as ‘search within site of domain’. You can also restrict the number of results presented on each page, the language, and the file type. Moreover, in order to access more advanced features you can click on date, numeric range, and usage rights as well.

  2. Google’s main search invisibility automatically joins search terms with the Boolean constructAND’, meaning when you search for design or development, the search engine generates results for cat and dog. In order to specify to search for design or devepopment, you have to type in design OR development or use the symbol ‘|’, as in design | development. As Boolean connectors are case sensitive AND and OR should be upper case.

  3. When searching for a specific term along with one or two alternative keywords the keywords inserted in parentheses would generate more specific results. For example: Vet (design OR development)

  4. Commonly occurring works such as I, and, then, if, etc are ignored by Google. These are called stop words. In order to include the stop words a plus operator should be added in front of the word such as: cats +and dogs.

  5. When searching for phrases, quotation marks should be inserted in a way such as: Singapore web design company . When stop words like and are included within quotation marks, they are not ignored.

  6. Using a tilde symbol before the keyword like ~design generates synonyms of the word energy.

  7. In order to exclude specific keywords a minus operator should be added in front of the unnecessary keyword. For example "web design" company; this will eliminate Company from the search results.

  8. Google can assist in filling the blanks. You have to include an asterisk sign where the blank is, for example: Man first landed on the moon in *

  9. When searching for a numerical range, the numrange operator should be used. For example DVD player SGD200..SGD400

  10. Microsoft Office document types, Lotus, PostScript, Shockwave Flash, and plain text files are some of the 13 main file types which can be recognized by Google’s advanced search. In order to specify a file type, using a modifier filetype:[filetype extension] is important. For example: Dieting filetype:pdf. However, when excluding a file type, you can include a minus operator in front of the modifier such as Dieating filetype:doc. As long as the syntax is correct, you can combine any Boolean search operators, for example: “Banana Diet” –milk filetype:pdf.

  11. In order to unlock the hidden search parameters of Google, use ‘intitle’ when searching. For example, intitle:calculus will limit the search to just page titles. In case you are searching for files rather than pages, give index of as the intitle parameter. This is enables you to find web and FTP directories.

  12. By using the modifier inurl (such as inurl:butter), the item entered is just searched for in the url. On the other hand, the modifier inurl:view/view.shtml can find live webcams.

  13. inanchor specifies results to be generated from within text of only page links. Moreover, site:sitename (for example site:www.mozilla.com) can limit search results to be generated from the specified website. Similarly, site:.com will generate results from .com domains only. This site:sitename modifier can be used when searching for images from images.google.com as well.

  14. The modifier info:sitename helps you find information about the site, while like:sitename (such as link:www.aspiredesigns.com.sg) generates all the links that are of the specified website. Additionally, in order to determine websites related to some other website, use related:sitename (related:www.aspiredesigns.com.sg for example) or simply click on ‘Similar Pages’ link that appears beside every generated link after a simple Google search.

  15. Google News (news.google.com) has its own Boolean parameters. ‘intext:keyword’ searches for the entered keyword or phrase within the text of news stories, ‘source:newssource’ such as gold prices source:daily_news generates results from the specified newspaper source, and the ‘location:’ filter limits the news to that of the mentioned location. Similarly, Google Blogsearch (blogsearch.google.com) has its own syntax and by using ‘inblogtitle:’ filter you can limit the search to just the blog title. 

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