Prior to the early 2000’s, no one on earth would have understood “just google it”. Today, you can find “google” listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a verb. This probably surprises no one. 90% of the world uses Google as their primary search engine. However, most people don’t know about the ways to use Google like a pro. Here are a few tips to help you become a Google search master.

1. Use “Quotes”

When you enter search terms on Google, results are based on pages that contain all of those words (or as many as possible). If you’re looking for something specific, place quotes around the entire phrase. Google will return pages that match the exact phrase you’re looking for.

2. Use a Hyphen

Words often mean more than one thing. The word “bass” could refer to a guitar, a fish, or a range of audio frequencies. To narrow your results, simply place a hyphen in front of a word to narrow the results. For example, search for “bass -guitar” will get you closer to bass fishing tips.

3. Use the Asterisk

The asterisk (*) remains one of the most underused tools on Google. It’s a wildcard that acts as a placeholder for a word. Can’t remember how that song goes? Search for the words you do remember, but use an asterisk for every word you can’t remember. Google will do the rest and fill in the blanks.

4. Use “site:”

Searching for “Tim Duncan” will return results from all over the internet. Instead, try searching for “Tim Duncan site:nba.com”. All the results that come back will only be from nba.com. Simply add “site:anydomain.com” to any search (replace “any domain.com” with the site you’d like to search). It’s an easy way to look for something on a site even if that site doesn’t offer a search field somewhere.

5. Use Advanced Search

The previous tips are all operators you can use while searching. If you don’t remember them, just remember that Google provides a tool to do the work for you. After performing any search, simply click the “Settings” menu near the top, then “Advanced search”. You’ll find a form that walks you through these options and a few more.

Google Advanced Search

6. Start Simple & Add Words

People often search using a long, specific phrase with several words in it. Typically, this results in not finding what you were looking for. Start with fewer, simpler terms when initially searching. Google will return more results this way. If you don’t see what you’re looking for right away, gradually add terms. Each term you add will narrow the results. As a result, you could miss what you’re looking for by jumping straight to the most detailed phrase.

Google Can Do More

The tips above will help you get to the results you’re looking for more quickly. However Google can do much more than that. From the search box, Google can provide stock info, weather forecasts, money conversion, answers to math problems, and even package tracking. You can learn more about Google Search here. More functionality is added all the time. At this rate, the real question is how long until Google becomes sentient.

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