How to get really useful Google search results

This can be useful when searching for results on Wikipedia, for example. Doing a regular search may turn up a lot of supported, optimized, and biased sites before the online encyclopedia, but if you add “” you’ll only get results from Wikipedia – and you can still benefit from Google’s excellent capabilities when it comes to searching and page ranking.

The same trick works for almost any site you consider a reference. You might want to focus on a specific news site you trust, for example, or maybe you’d like to see results from an official website linked to your search rather than matches from elsewhere on the web.

Use advanced search tools

Google offers a full page of advanced search tools.

Google via David Nield

In a hurry to search the web, you might not have noticed the little gear icon at the top right of the Google search results page. Click on this and then choose advanced search, and you get access to a whole host of additional parameters that will make your searches more accurate and efficient.

You can use the advanced search page to include or exclude certain words, as we mentioned before. You can also limit your results to a specific language or region – again, useful when you’re getting a lot of redundant results. Another useful option here is file type Drop-down menu, which allows you to search for PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and GIF files in search of images and other file types instead of web pages.

The advanced search page also contains options to view recently updated pages, search for keywords in a specific part of the website, and to return content that has been attached to a Creative Commons license. Once you start using these advanced features, you may be wondering how you did without them.

Add more search operators

Choose your operators carefully to get better search results.

Google via David Nield

You can publish a number of search operators to dig deeper into Google results and to return page matches that you would not otherwise have. Put “or” between your keywords to search for several different terms at once that don’t all have to match. Instead, use an asterisk (“*”) as a wildcard that Google will use to return all of the most popular results – “How to learn * on YouTube” for example.

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