Website Wednesday: Google Search Like a Pro

captureby Michelle Curcio, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach and Google Certified Teacher

Searching Google happens millions of times a day.  Any Google search too, will result in millions of hits for you to peruse!  Would you like to be able search Google better?  To limit your results to just those hits you really want?  Follow the tips and tricks below and learn to search Google like a pro!  And while you are at it, have some fun with Google as well.  Happy searching!

Start with Basic Searching

Start with simple searching.  

  • Ask a basic question.  Example:  ‘Who was John F. Kennedy?’
  • Type in a simple search term.  Example: ‘Oatmeal Cookies Recipe’.
  • Don’t worry about conventions!  Google doesn’t recognize punctuation, spelling, capitals, or articles (a, an, the)  so there is no need to include them!                   Example: Instead of ‘Who was John F. Kennedy?’ try only ‘John F. Kennedy’.
  • To search for a specific location add it’s name.  Example: bakery, Exton, PA.
  • Choose words that are likely to appear on the site you’re looking for. For example, instead of saying ‘my throat hurts’, say ‘sore throat’, because those are the words a medical site would use.

Next, Use Specific Search Terms

When using some specific terms, Google will recognize the request and do the work for you! The answer or tool you need shows up right in the search results!

  • Weather: Search weather to see the weather in your location or add a city name, like ‘weather Philadelphia’, to find weather for a certain location.
  • Dictionary: Type ‘define’ in front of any word to instantly see its definition.
  • Calculations: Enter a math equation such as  3 * 9123, or solve complex graphing equations.
  • Calculator: Type the word ‘calculator’ to bring up a simple or scientific calculator that works within the browser.
  • Unit conversions: Enter any conversion, like ‘10 dollars in euros’ or ‘5000 ft to meters’.
  • Translate: Type ‘translate’ and convert any phrase from one language to another.  Choose from hundreds of languages!
  • Sports: Search for the name of your team to see a schedule, live game scores and more.
  • Song Lyrics: Follow the name of any song with the word ‘lyrics’ to see the entire song.
  • Timer & Stopwatch: Type ‘set timer’ and the amount of time and let Google count down for you!
  • Flip a Virtual Coin: Type ‘Flip a Coin’ and be sure to choose heads or tails!
  • Google Newspaper Archives:  Search newspapers archives for every newspaper ever printed with a ‘Google Newspaper Archives’ search.  Search for a topic and click ‘search archives’ Click on the image to zoom in! (note: this site is no longer being updated by Google).
  • Quick facts: Search for the name of a celebrity, location, movie, or song to find related information.


Finally, Use Symbols and Search Operators

  1. Search with the @ symbol to find social tags.  Example: @micheleacurcio
  2. Search with the $ symbol to find items for sale in your price range.                  Example: Uggs $125
  3. Use the # symbol to locate popular hashtags for trending topics.                     Example: #education
  4. When you use a dash before a word or site, it excludes sites with that information from your results. This is useful for words with multiple meanings, such as  Jaguar the car brand and jaguar the animal.                                                                        Example: jaguar speed -car or pandas
  5. When you put a word or phrase in quotes, the results will only include pages with the same words in the same order as the ones inside the quotes. Use this when looking for an exact word or phrase.  Example: “imagine all the people”
  6. Add an asterisk as a placeholder for any unknown words or wildcard terms.              Example: ‘a * saved is a * earned’.
  7. Separate numbers by two periods without spaces to see results that contain numbers in a range or the date of an event.                                                            Example: camera $50..$100 or World Series Winner..1972.
  8. Limit results to information from a particular website or domain.                              Example: Cubs
  9. To get results from multiple sites or domains, combine then with OR.              Example: Cubs OR site:.espn
  10. Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know by beginning with the word ‘related’.                                                                                                                 Example:
  11. Find pages that might use one of several words by placing ‘OR’ between them.  Example: marathon OR race
  12. Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.  Example:
  13. See what a page looks like the last time Google visited the site.                       Example:

Just Plain Fun!





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