Google Tips

Google is by far the most popular search engine on the planet. I think Santa Claus even uses Google to search the names of kids who have been good or bad! However, most people don’t really use Google to the extent they can. People would just rather type in their search query and expect Google to guess what exactly is on their mind. So, here are five little tutorials to help you effectively unleash the power of Google!

1.) Use Double Quotation Marks for an Exact Phrase Search

You want to search for a Web page with the exact phrase “women who love football,” but when you perform the search on Google, it brings up too many results. Most of them don’t even contain all the words in the same page.

Here’s the trick: when you want to search for an exact phrase in a Web page, you have to put it within quotes. Google searches the exact keywords in the order that you put them.

For example:
Women who love football – 34,600,000 results. Not all of them are relevant.
“Women who love football” – 45,500 results. As you can see here, the quotes help us eliminate a lot of unnecessary results.

2.) Wildcard Search With the Asterisk

The asterisk ( * ) can be used as a wildcard in your phrase search. The asterisk denotes the placeholder for a single word, meaning that an asterisk in a search query is like a blank slot that will accept any word. This is extremely helpful if you want to search for a phrase, but have forgotten one of the words in it.

For example, you know about the “the bridge on the river xx, “ but no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to find the name of the actual river! In this case, you can just go and search like this:
“the bridge on the river *”

There you go, it’s the river, Kwai.

You can also use multiple asterisks for multiple wildcard words. The query given below searches for pages that have “wine” and “monks,” with two words between them. “Wine ** monks”

3.) Specify to Include or Exclude the Site

The “site:” operator tells Google to search only within a particular site, or within sites with a certain domain suffix. For example, you want to search for Kobe Bryant at You can use “Kobe Bryant” for better results.

Similarly, if you want to exclude a particular site from the search results, that’s also possible. All you have to do is add a “ – “ (minus sign) sign before the “site:” operator. For example, you’d like to download the Yahoo! messenger from a non-Yahoo! Web site. For this, you can use “Yahoo messenger”

The minus sign tells Google to omit the search results from the site of Now, if you wanted to search an “essay on American history,” but you only wanted to search on .edu Web sites, you would use “Essay on American history”

4.) Including Synonyms in Your Search

By placing the “~” (called a tilde) right in front of a word, with no space in between, you can instruct Google to search for the word following the tilde, as well as, its synonyms. For example, if you wanted to search for a bass fishing tutorial, you could type in “Bass fishing” tutorial.

However, if you added a “~” in front of the word tutorial, Google will search, not only for tutorials, but also for words such as basics, hints, guide, etc. for even more information.

5.) Find Definitions

Google’s “define” operator can help you look up word definitions. You simply need to include this operator in your search phrase to access definitions with just a click.

For example, to find out the definition of bass fishing, you would type define: bass fishing.

And, ta da! There you go!

Another way to find out about something is to use “what is” in the search phrase. Using this, not only yields the definition of the phrase, but it also performs a regular Google search using the same search phrase.

To search for bass fishing, you would type What is bass fishing?

~ Yogesh Bakshi