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How To Search Google Like a Pro – 10 Tips and Tricks

Louise Simpson's picture

If you use Google anywhere near as much as we do, you’re sure to appreciate these ten simple methods for making your searches more effective.

1. Search for an exact phrase

This particular trick is quite well-known. If you know the exact keywords that you’re looking for, it is a good idea to enclose your search in quotation marks. Google will limit the results to the exact phrase that you have specified.

 Google Pro Phrase

2. Exclude keywords from your search

If you want to exclude a particular keyword from your search results you can add a – (minus) symbol in front of that keyword. For example, you might be researching the city of Sunderland but have no interest in the football team (search for sunderland -football) or you might want to make a  cheesecake but don’t like strawberries (search for cheesecake recipes -strawberries).

 Google Pro Exclude

3. Search within a specific site

If you want to limit your Google search to a specific site, use the site:  search operator. This can be very useful if the website you want to search doesn’t have its own internal site search (or if the internet site search isn’t very good). The below example demonstrates a search of the Guardian’s site for the keyword skyfall. If you don’t include a keyword in the search then Google will return a list of all the URLs it has indexed for that domain.

Google Pro Site Search

4. Use the related search synonym

Include synonyms in Google’s results by placing the ~ sign in front of your keyword. For example, a search for ~cheap holidays will also return returns for low cost holidays.


Google Pro Related Search

5. Search by file type

Search for specific document type by using the filetype: modifier. The following example demonstrates a search for a .pdf version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Google Pro File Type

6. Search for related sites

Use the related:  modifier to find websites relating to a domain of your choice. This tool is ideal for identifying online competitors. Alternatively, you could just use it to find similar websites to the ones you already enjoy browsing!

 Google Pro Related

7. Search by image

Google’s “search by image” function is relatively new. It allows users to start their search with an image rather than keywords. To use this function, drag and drop a local image file into Google’s image search (you can also upload the image, search by URL or drag the image from Google’s image results). Google has identified the painting below as being Turner’s “Flint Castle” – very impressive!

Google Pro Image Search

8. Find cinema times

If you’re looking for local showings of the latest film releases, Google is a great place to start. Search for movie:[movie name] [your postcode/town] to compare showing times at local cinemas. Use the options on the left hand side to refine your results. To ensure the search works correctly, make sure you don’t use a space in your postcode.

 Google Pro Movie Search

9. Calculator tool

Can’t find a calculator function on your desktop or mobile? Use Google’s built in calculator tool! Simply enter your expression into the search box to bring up Google’s calculator.

 Google Pro Calculator

10. Convert currency and other measures

Searching Google for “currency converter” will bring up the function.

 Google Pro Currency Converter

You can also use Google to convert measures, such as the following:


Google Pro Measures


Bonus YouTube tip:

When viewing a video, use your left and right keyboard arrows to rewind/fast-forward 5 seconds or your up and down keys to increase/decrease the volume by 5%.

Happy Googling!