Basic Google Search Tips

Its amazing. Google is a tool we all use constantly (I myself use it innumerable times a day), yet the true potential of its search capabilities remains untapped by most. This fact can serve to be rather frustrating when you’re trying to get the most accurate information from the search engine’s search results. There are several ways to optimise your search to get the best search results from the worlds leading engine.

Getting The Search Results You Want

Quotation Marks

Using quotation marks, you can ensure that Google only returns search results containing ALL the keywords in your phrase, rather than results containing any one of them. So, if you submit the following for a search: “Best SEO results”, your search will yield results that contain all three of these words, (best, SEO and results) together, rather than search results containing any individual one of the three.

Negative Terms

If you’re searching for a term that has multiple meanings this trick is especially useful. Putting the ‘minus’ symbol in front of a word tells Google you only want to be shown search results that don’t include that word. For example: South African politics -Mbeki This will yield search results that include the words “South”, “African” and “politics” but exclude the word “Mbeki”.

Site Search

Google can search a specific site for your keywords and display the results for you as per any other search. To do this enter your keyword, followed by “site:” and the website address. Like this: Keyword

Document Type

To search for your chosen keyword/phrase in a certain file type, in the search box follow your keyword with “Filetype:” followed by the file type you’re searching for. For example: Keyword filetype:pdf

This OR That

To search for two different search terms at once simply enter them into the search box with a capitalised ‘OR’ between them. The engine will return these words separately in the search results.

So Many More Tricks

The above useful hints will help you get much better search results on Google and should be employed often. The following little tricks aren’t quite as important, but handy nonetheless:


Type in “define:” followed by the word to be defined. This will bring up a list of definitions that Google finds on the web For example: Define: Cranium


Yes, Google has a built in calculator just type in the two numbers with a “*” in between them. For example: 3*4


Definitely useful, do the following: 100 USD in ZAR This will show how many South African rands are in the US dollar. However it can work with any currency.

More Google Search Tricks

Interested in getting even more focused results from Google? Check out for more tips.