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Published on 03.31.06 by Brent Trahan

How to Use Google to Search the Internet

Learn how to get more out of the Google search engine.

As of the time I wrote this guide Google is considered the best search engine by most people. The sad part about this is most people don’t know the first thing about using Google to search the internet. This guide will show you many useful features of the Google search engine most people don’t know exist.

When searching Google most people simply type a few words or phrase on what they are searching for and press search. They don’t realize they can get better results from their search if they use a few operators in their search. An operator is something like a + sign in front of a word. That operator (the + sign) tells Google to treat that word differently. Google has many different operators that do many different things.

Automatic Stemming

When you search for car child restraint system Google will not only search for websites that contain those words but it will search for words that are similar. Some examples for the word child that google also searches would be child, children, and children’s. Google does this to help with your search and to give you more results.

You can stop Google from stemming words by placing a + sign in front of each word you don’t want Google to stem. An example would be +child. Google will not give you results on children and children’s like it normally would with automatic stemming when adding a + sign in front of a word.

Names and phrases

If you want to search for a name (John Doe) or a phrase (Uncle Sam) you can place it in parentheses so Google searches for that name or phrase and not each individual word. An example would be “uncle sam”.

Exclude something from search results

If you place a – sign in front of a word Google will only show you search results that do not have that word in them. An example of this is car child restraint system –“car seat”. This example would give you results for car child restraint system that doesn’t include the phrase car seat.

Correct spelling

I’m not much of a speller. Microsoft Word helps, but it’s not enough sometimes. If you type a word that you are not sure is spelled right in the search box Google will let you know if it’s spelled wrong and gives you the correct spelling. I’ve noticed this works better than Microsoft Word’s spell checker.

Find a definition of a word

Need to find the meaning of a word? Simply type define blog and Google will give you the definition of blog. You can type define: blog and Google will give you every definition of blog it can find.

Local weather conditions

You can find current local weather conditions by typing weather city, state or weather zip code. An example would be weather Miami, Florida.

Find a map or an area

Simply type the city, state of an area you want a map of and one of the top results of your search will be map of that city, state. You can get maps from Google maps, Yahoo maps, and MapQuest.

All In Title

You can search for words only in the pages titles by typing allintitle: then the word(s) you are searching for.

Search in site

You can get search results that only appear from a website you specify by typing site:www.yoursite.com then your search.

Exclude a site

If you type –site:www.microsoft.com then your search Google will give you results that are not on Microsoft.com.

Search by domain

You can tell Google to only search sites that end with .org for example by typing site:.org then your search.

Search by file type

The majority of search results are regular html pages. You can search by file type by typing filetype:pdf your search. This will search for your search term that is only in PDF documents. (Hint: Try searching for your favorite music in .mp3 format using this trick.)

Search by location

Let’s say you want to find something on the web that is in the state of Florida. Type location:FL your search. This will bring results back only from areas in Florida.

For much more information on searching the internet with Google check out GoogleGuide.com.

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