How to use search like a pro: 10 tips and tricks for Google and beyond

Search engines are pretty good at finding what you’re looking for these days, but sometimes they still come up short. For those occasions there are a few little known tricks which come in handy.

So here are some tips for better googling (as it’s the most popular search engine) but many will work on other search engines too.

1. Exact phrase

Exact search


Exact search Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The simplest and most effective way to search for something specific is to use quote marks around a phrase or name to search for those exact words in that exact order.

For instance, searching for Joe Bloggs will show results with both Joe and Bloggs but not necessarily placed sequentially. Searching for “Joe Bloggs” will surface only those that specifically have the name Joe Bloggs somewhere on the page.

The exact or explicit phrase search is very useful for excluding more common but less relevant results.

2. Exclude terms

“Joe Bloggs” -jeans


“Joe Bloggs” -jeans Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

If exact phrase doesn’t get you what you need, you can specifically exclude certain words using the minus symbol.

A search for “Joe Bloggs” -jeans will find results for Joe Bloggs, but it will exclude those results for the Joe Bloggs brand of jeans.

3. Either OR

OR search


OR search for things that could be one thing or another, but you don’t need both terms to exist on a single page. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

Default text searches find results with all the words of the query. By using the OR term you can search for one or another term, not just all the terms. OR searches can be useful for finding things that you’re not sure which term will be used from a known list.

Read full article at How to use search like a pro: 10 tips and tricks for Google and beyond