- Search Operators (Official, but exceedingly brief)
- Here is a more comprehensive list.
“Search Term” This operator searches for the exact phrase within speech marks only. This is ideal when the phrase you are using to search is ambiguous and could be easily confused with something else, or when you’re not quite getting relevant enough results back. For example: “Tinned Sandwiches” This will search for only the finer tinned variety of the bread based snack, at the exclusion of all others. OR This self explanatory operator searches for a given search term OR an equivalent term. For instance, if you have an unhealthy fascination with the famous ‘Sheens’ you could search for: “Martin Sheen” OR “Charlie Sheen” Then immediately seek psychiatric help. – (and +) The – operator removes pages that mention a given term from search results. For example, if you were searching for information about Manchester, but didn’t want your results to be polluted by information about the city’s red clothed football team, you could search for the following: Manchester -united This would return results for “Manchester”, while removing any that feature the word “united”. Using + forces Google to return common words that might ordinarily be discarded, for example: Peanut Butter +and Jam ~ Adding a tilde to a search word tells Google that you want it to bring back synonyms for the term as well. For example, entering “~set” will bring back results that include words like “configure”, “collection” and “change” which are all synonyms of “set”. Fun fact: “set” has the most definitions of any word in the dictionary. site: This searches only within a given domain – delectable when you want to only search within the confines of a particular site. For instance, if I were looking for members of my close peer group that I regularly go drinking with, on Twitter, I would search for the following (in turn, not all at the same time): site:twitter.com Paul Daniels site:twitter.com Geoffrey Archer site:twitter.com Alan Hansen site:twitter.com Nicholas Lyndhurst link: Use this operator to find links to a domain. Bonus note: Google only provides a sample of backlinks, meaning that this operator isn’t very useful for uncovering the complete selection of links to a site, but it is good for quickly identifying a sample of sites that link to a specific domain. For example: link:bynd.com For a more complete selection of backlinks, use the Yahoo! operator –linkdomain: – which we will cover later. Less Common Google Search Operators allintitle: (and also intitle:) Searches only for sites with the given word(s) in the page title. Intitle: does the same thing but for single words and can be used with more flexibility. For instance, if I searched: intitle:hammer nails The results would show pages with just “hammer” in the page title, and with “nails” elsewhere. Note: in blog search this same function is performed by inblogtitle: and inposttitle: allintext: (and also intext:) This operator searches only for sites where the given word(s) are in the text of the page. allinanchor: (and also inanchor:) This shows sites which have the keyterms in links pointing to them, in order of the most links. For instance, if I searched for allinanchor:helicopters, Google would show me the top sites which are linked to, where the anchor text for the link is “helicopters”. allinurl (and also inurl:) Similar to the last few, but fetches results where the key words are in the URL. This is useful if you’ve forgotten the exact URL of a website, but can still remember bits of it. Note: in blog search this same function is blogurl:, making it handy for searching for topics on specific platforms. For example: blogger blogurl:wordpress Would find WordPress blogs that are – paradoxically – talking about Blogger. inurl:view/view.shtml Will reveal a list of webcams – useful for voyeurs. allinpostauthor: (and also inpostauthor:) Exclusive to blog search, this one picks out blog posts that are written by specific individuals. For instance, if you wanted sound advice on how to use Online PR and Social Media to improve your company’s ROI, you could try: allinpostauthor:Roger Warner * Putting an asterisk in a search tells Google ‘I don’t know what goes here’. Basically, it’s really good for finding half remembered song lyrics or names of things. If you put the asterisk in a search like: I’ve got a brand new pair of * Google will fill in the blank and tell you that you’ve got a brand new pair of Belgians, hopefully. Though it’ll more than likely be rollerskates. + (immediately before query) Google is now craftily providing a wide range of synonym results in response to relevant search queries. For example, if I search for “California”, Google knows that this is the same as “CA” and will also return results for the latter but – and it’s a huge but – if I suffer from abbrphobia (fear of abbreviations), then just looking at the word “CA” will hurl me into a massive world of terror. I want to avoid these words like my life depends on it. So, I use: +California Google: providing safety and reassurance for abbrphobics. related: Simple: it returns searches for sites that are related to a given domain. This one is interesting for testing Google’s semantic perception of a given domain, for example: related:www.guardian.co.uk .. Use two full stops to search in a range of numbers, for example: I own 1..100 cats Will bring back results that encompass searches on “I own 1 cat” to “I own 100 cats”. Totally useless. info:website Using this operator will tell Google to bring back information about a certain domain. It reveals: Google’s cache of the site Pages that are similar to the one you searched for Pages that link to the domain you searched for Other pages on the same domain Pages that contain the domain text on their page loc:Brighton pub define:ululate It will bring back six definitions from different websites, from Wiktionary to encyclopedia.com. daterange: This query will search within a given date and time range, but is a bit unusable because dates must be entered in the tricky Julian format. For example, the string: beagle daterange:2455332-2455334 Will search for beagle-based articles over the last two days. Bonus link: calculate Julian dates here. Gordon Brown source:the_guardian
// news search onlyGoogle will show all the mentions of Gordon Brown in articles where The Guardian is identified as the news source. location:London filetype:pdf or ext:pdf Will bring back only MP3 results. Useless note: you can also use the extension “ext:” to do exactly the same thing. movie:(Iron Man 2) And then enter a location, Google will tell you where you can see the film and at what time. This operator can also be used in conjunction with the aforementioned “loc:” phonebook:(john smith) You’ll be given a worrying list of phone numbers for people called John Smith. weather:Topeka Will bring back results both for Brighton pages on weather websites, as well as a little weather widget at the top of the results page. stocks: I use this query to track the stock price of my investment portfolio – AND NOW YOU CAN TOO. Just use the operator followed by the company ticker symbol that you wish to receive information on, for example: stocks:BAC Will show stock information for Bank of America. cache: Shows Google’s most recent cache of a webpage. map: Adding the word map after a locational search forces Google to produce map-based results. in Google can be used as a calculator. As part of this functionality, “In” is a superb function that can be used (among many other Google calculation operators) to work out the number of units of something in something else. For example: mph in speed of light
A Google tip (for image search):
Drag-and-drop is supported in Google's image search: https://youtu.be/0zz_HHVvMag
You can drag and drop from the file system (e.g. your photos directory).
You can drag and drop from another browser window (e.g. cnn.com).
You can drag and drop from the same window (i.e. on a results page).
Its ability to match up photos is downright amazing.
Yet another Google and DuckDuckGo tip:
If I understand correctly, Google 'stems' by default: that is, they search for related words or word forms when you search. But you can explicitly 'stem' by adding the tilde (~) and broaden the synonymy.
low-cost ~medical care
returns substantially different results from
low-cost medical care
Strangely, Google's results are less in number for the first search, as they overlook the word "medical", but pick up on such things as meds, health, etc. (Of course DuckDuckGo does not tell you the number of results, but it seems reasonable that you would return more results, since their stemmed searches also return the stemmed word.)
Another web tip for you. This is a strange little bit about bit.ly and j.mp (and n.pr):
All bit.ly links can be further shortened to j.mp:
bit.ly/TFx4t0 == j.mp/TFx4t0
And as a strange aside, in my limited research, all n.pr (NPR's shortening service) are also valid as bit.ly and j.mp links.
n.pr/TFx4t0 == bit.ly/TFx4t0 == j.mp/TFx4t0
I presume this basic functionality is true for anyone who uses bit.ly's service. So, another company's links would work on bit.ly, but bit.ly created links would not work reciprocally. As, I have found, It is not true that all bit.ly or j.mp links work through n.pr, though:
j.mp/rgum == bit.ly/rgum != n.pr/rgum
Google and DuckDuckGo Tips:
If you only want to return a certain type of document, try the filetype:/ext: syntax: e.g.
"Budget Template" ext:xls
Some help for Google and DuckDuckGo... When you search, you can limit your search to a site like this:
"Presidential Campaign" site:cnn.com
You can get more or less specificity by giving more or less information:
"Presidential Campaign" site:blogs.cnn.com
or a very general search of the 'com' TLD
"Presidential Campaign" site:com
h/t to +Eric J. Gruber for the 'help' idea.