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How to Effectively Search Google: Tips and Tricks

Three billion Google searches are made every day. Although you frequently use Google, you may not know some easy tips and tricks that will make your searches more effective. Do you find your searches cluttered with irrelevant information? Below I have four easy tips and tricks to better your search results.

1. The Minus Symbol. (-)

This simple symbol will drastically change your results.

When I look up the Chicago based band Chevelle, my results get cluttered with related results for the car model also named Chevelle.

This is not an effective way to search for Chevelle. Instead search: Chevelle -cars.

Note: Do not put a space between the minus symbol and the word you would like to eliminate from the search. The space will negate the trick.

Now, the search results only pertain to Chevelle, the band.


2. Quotations. ( “” )

Google eliminated the + trick in 2011, and replaced it with quotations. Let’s search song lyrics, and not utilize the quotation trick.

Observe the clutter in my results.

Instead search: “my body needs a hero come and save me”

There are a lot of words in this lyric that could bring up random pages that are of no interest to you. Putting quotations around your search forces each result to contain every part of the quotation.


3. The Synonym Trick (~)

Let’s say you want to search for the biggest baby ever born.

“Biggest” might not be the ideal word choice.

Adding a ~ in front of the word “biggest” will allow that word to be swapped out for any of its synonyms.

Google now has results with the words “heaviest” and “largest”.

This trick expands your results.


3. The Range Trick (..)

Let’s say you are looking up WWII 1941-1945.

Instead of using a dash, a more effective way is to use two consecutive periods in place of the dash.  This will allow your results to have information from 1942, 1943, and 1944 that do not contain information from 1941 and 1945.

Observe results that have one or more year in the title.


Google Facts and Factoids

The Google Guide is a website devoted to Google tips and tricks. The above tips are mentioned, along with more indepth ones. If you are interested in what Google has to offer, I suggest you take a look at Google Guide.

Google Trends: Find out what is trending on Google or what are popular searches for today, or any day.

Google Zeitgeist: Is a Google service that creates top ten search lists for every country each year.


Expert Tips

Tips Straight From Google


A Video From Me to You:


Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Pictures Instead of Words

  • Quick Stock Quote

  • Calculator

  • Flight Tracker


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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.