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How to use search like a pro: 10 tips and tricks for Google and beyond

How to use search like a pro
not found what you are looking for? These tips in a search pro. Photo: Chris ison/PA-

search engines are pretty good to find what you are looking for in these days but sometimes still up briefly. For the opportunities that there are a few little known tricks that come in handy.


Here are some tips for better googling (as it is the most popular search engine), but many of them work on other search engines.

1. Exact phrase


Exact phrase
Exact Search Photo: Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian is


the simplest and most effective way of searching for something specific is the use of quotation marks around a phrase or name to search, it is precisely these words in this exact order.

For example, to search for Joe Bloggs shows results with both Joe and so, but not necessarily placed one after the other. Search for "John Doe" the surface only those who are especially with the name Max Mustermann somewhere on the side.

The exact or explicit phrase search is very useful for exclusive widespread, but less relevant results.

2. Exclude terms


Exclude terms
“Joe Bloggs” -jeans Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

If the Exact Phrase will not get what you need, you can specifically to certain words about the minus icon.

A search for "John Doe" Jeans find results for Max Mustermann, but it closes these results for the Joe Bloggs Jeans Brand.

3. Either OR


Either OR
Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

OR search for things that could be one thing or another, but you don’t need both terms to exist on a single page. 
Default text searches find results with all the words of the query. By using the OR term you can search for one or another term, not just all the terms. OR searches can be useful for finding things that you’re not sure which term will be used from a known list.

4. Synonym search

Searching using synonyms helps cover all bases. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
Sometimes it’s useful to search for a less specific term. If you’re not sure which term will be used you can use synonym search.
Searching for plumbing ~university will bring up results for plumbing from colleges as well as universities, for example.

5. Search within a site

Use Google to search a particular site. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
The search engines of most websites are poor. You can search using Googleinstead by using the site or domain limiter.
Searching with site:theguardian.com followed by a search term, will find results from only theguardian.com. Combining with explicit search terms makes it even more powerful.

6. The power of the asterisk

Asterisks work as wildcards within search either to replace a word or letters. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
Like the blank tile in Scrabble, the asterisk works as a wild card within searches. It can be used in place of a missing word or part of a word, which is useful for completing phrases, but also when you’re trying to search for a less definite article.
A search for architect* will search for architect, but also architectural, architecture, architected, architecting and any other word which starts with architect.

7. Searching between two values

British prime minister 1920.. 1950 Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
Searching for something with a qualifier between two ranges is a good way of answering questions. For instance, if you’re looking for the who were the British prime ministers between 1920 and 1950 a search using british prime minister 1920.. 1950 will bring up results with dates ranging between 1920 and 1950.
That’s your search term followed by two full stops and a space.

8. Search for word in the body, title or URL of a page

intitle: search Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
Sometimes you only want to find text either within the URL, body or title of a page. Using the qualifier inurl: will search just within the url. The qualifierintext: will search within the body, while intitle: will search only within a page title.
For example, intitle:review will bring up all the articles with “review” in the page title.

9. Search for related sites

Related search. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
The related qualifier is useful for finding similar sites. Searching forrelated:theguardian.com for instance, will bring up the websites of other news organisations that Google deems the most similar to the Guardian.

10. Combine them


Combine the terms and modifiers for powerful searches. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
All these search tools can be combined to narrow down or expand searches. While some of them may be used only rarely, some such as explicit phrase searches are useful in almost all cases.
As Google and other search engines improve their understanding of the way people naturally type or say search queries, these power tools will likely become less and less useful – at least that’s the goal that search engines are working towards – but that’s certainly not the case at the moment.
source: theguardian

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