When we want to look for information online, the first place we go to is Google.
Google is the King of Search Engines and it is the go-to site when information or answers to questions are needed.
Google delivers most of the answers we’re looking for. But not always. Sometimes we can’t net good returns on our queries.
This may not be entirely a problem with Google. It has to do with how we search Google.
Most of us just do basic searches. We just type words or phrases that pop up in our minds into the search engine box.
Google returns the results it could find, usually listing the top-ranking pages. If you don’t find the content you’re like looking for then you could do well to use any of the search strings recommended below. Especially if you often get the notification as shown below.
Here’s a quickstart Google search operators cheatsheet with common search strings often used.
Spend some time with it to learn search strings that are relevant to your needs. If we use these search strings we communicate better with the search engine and it helps return results that are more relevant.
Search Strings Are Optional
You don’t necessarily have to remember all these search strings. Use them only when you don’t get the results you’re looking for.
Even if you use these strings listed in the Google search operators cheatsheet below, they may not work for all your searches. It all depends on your search query and the availability of web pages related to it.
Quotes : “text” for Exact Match Search
By far, this is the most useful search string in the Google search operators cheatsheet. If there’s any search string you need to remember, this is the one. And it’s not difficult to remember it.
Sometimes when you search for a phrase, it will return random results. We are mistakenly led to believe there aren’t pages related to our search.
Let say, we search for step-by-step productivity. We get the following random results.
However, if you put the phrase in quotes – “step-by-step productivity”– the results returned will contain only pages with the specific phrase.
This is called an exact-match search. This search string excludes random results and also synonyms related to the word or phrase.
Not every result will contain the phrase, but your search will definitely be narrowed down.
Also, including quotation marks may bring up relevant low-ranking pages usually not discovered through regular search.
If you want results from two related terms then you can use OR.
For example, HDMI cables or connectors
If you want to see the links that point to a particular page, use the link command.
For example, link:www.freevideoworkshop.com/dvdflicktutorial.htm
This will be useful if you want to check backlink sources to your web page.
The asterisk will act like a fill-in-blank exercise for the search engine. It is called the true Google wildcard search.
Let’s say you’re writing an article on procrastination. You want to get quick ideas on the effects of procrastination. You can use the * string as shown below to get suggestions for your query
For example, procrastination results in *
site: + phrase
The site: + phrase is used when you want to find a phrase only on a specific website.
For example, site:cnn.com + private investigator
Sometimes we remember the title of a blog post or web page but don’t remember the domain name. In this instance, we can use the allintitle: search string to locate the blog post.
You may also use the search string for names or words. For example allintitle:Google Docs Tutorial
This will return pages with Google Docs Tutorial on their titles.
If you want only certain words to appear in the title then you use the intitle: search string.
For example, intitle: steve jobs quotes.
This search string returns pages containing a certain word. For example, intext: brickfields.
Use this when you can’t get relevant results from any of the above search strings.
This string will be useful if you’re finding pages that are linked from the anchor text mentioned in the search string.
For your information, anchor text contains words or phrases that are used as a replacement for a page URL. Behind an anchor text is hidden a URL, not visible to the reader. Clicking on the anchor text will bring you to the page it is linked to.
For example inanchor: 8mm video will return results that have been linked to from the anchor text 8mm video.
You’ll get an either-or result. In the example above, you’ll get results containing 8mm or video or both.
This search string works much like in anchor: However, the results will contain the specific words included in the string
So for allinanchor: 8mm video, you get the following results:
The above Google Search Operators Cheatsheet should get you started with a more rewarding search adventure.
Practice using the search strings relevant to your search and they’ll become second nature.