Google’s Search Operators

Many people know how to search Google. Its easy, right? Just navigate to and enter what you would like to learn about. What if I told you that the way you have been searching is wrong. How? Well, by using Google’s Search Operators, you can more accurately and more easily find the information that you are looking for.

Say you want to find a line from a song, speech, book, or other line of text. You may not remember the title, but you go and search: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Wrong. Now, lets try it with Google’s Search Operators. Using quotes around your search query tells Google to search for that phrase in its entirety. Lets try it again: “it was the best of times it was the worst of times”. Much better, now you are searching more accurately.

Now while searching something as common as a line from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities can be done without Search Operators, where this really becomes useful is in allowing you to search for more niche information with the same accuracy. Additional search operators such as the asterisk tell Google to fill in the blank with what it finds to be most accurate. When used in conjunction with quotes and searched: “a * saved is a * earned” fills in the blanks with sites including that phrase with words replacing the asterisk.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 10.14.06 AM

Other search operators, such as the minus (-) key, tell Google what not to search. If a word follows a minus symbol, Google knows not to search for that word which is useful when a word has multiple meanings, such as: Jaguar speed -car. Using two periods without spaces allows Google to search for a range of numbers: cars $15000..$17500 and the word OR (capitalized) tells Google to search for either one of the words.

Google’s search operators also go beyond their site with operators such as site: and cache:. If site: is used, followed by a website, you can search for results within a website, which is particularly useful for poorly designed websites. Cache: searches for the last known cache that Google has of a site, which allows you to see most of a website, even if it is down. With the -, .., site:, and cache: operators, be sure not to put a space between the operator and the word following it.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 10.16.54 AM

Now, with the knowledge of Search Operators, go on, and become a search guru. For a more complete list, visit the official search operators website here.

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3 thoughts on “Google’s Search Operators

  1. This is actually quite helpful, I didn’t know that Google operators existed. Now I can research material a lot easier!

  2. If people could remember these without needing to look them up, they would become invaluable. I love the ‘site:’ option personally.

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