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7 Ways to Improve Your Google Search

8.4 billion Google searches are performed by Canadians every month. Want to get better at Googling? Here's how.

Use Tabs

Let’s get the easiest tip out of the way first. At the top of the search page Google has tabs for common searches, including News, Maps, Images, Videos, Shopping, Books, Flights, and Apps. Using these dedicated tabs can narrow down your search considerable, particularly if you’re looking using common terms. Searching “Calgary” brings up millions of results, but clicking the News tab gives you only news, clicking the Shopping tab gives you products around Calgary, and so on.

Use Search Tools

Next to the tabs is a button labelled Search Tools. Google’s search tools let you filter by country, time, and whether you want only exact matches or not. These tools let you narrow down your search quickly.

Let’s say you’re trying to troubleshoot your phone after a recent update—a common enough problem. If you just search:

Map crashing iPhone 5

You’ll probably get results from years ago. Instead, you should use the search tools to filter out all results not from the past week, thus giving you more relevant pages that are more likely to have the answer to your problem. You just need to click “Any Time” under search tools and change it to “Past Week”.

Use Important Words Only

You don’t need to type out something like:

Where’s the best drycleaner in town?

The only important words in that sentence are “best” and “drycleaner”, so your search can be:

Best drycleaner

Start Adding More Specific Terms

Let’s return to the above example. If you see lots of results, add specific related terms like open late, inexpensive, or the name of your neighbourhood. 

Use a Minus Sign to Exclude Words

If you’re looking for a word that has multiple means, a minus sign can remove irrelevant results. Say you want furniture to put by a pool, but you’re sick of so many results to do with pool tables. Search something like: 

pool furniture –billiard

Then you’ll get more results to do with swimming pools and Google will filter anything to do with the other use of the word pool.

Use a Colon to Search Specific Sites

If you want to look through a site without a search function, use the word site followed by a colon and the site. For example, if you want to search Food Network’s site for Gordon Ramsay, you’d type:

gordon ramsay

You Can Find Sites Similar to Specific Sites

Say you really like the page Cute Overload and you could use even more pictures of cute animals in your life. Then you search using the word “related”, then a colon, then the URL of the site you want more from. For example:

Bottom Line

The great thing about Google is it lets you search through billions of pages—but that’s the drawback about it too. By using these simple tricks, you’ll get what you want out of Google with less time wasted.