Google Search Tips

Sections of this topic

    How to Get Better Search Results with Modifiers

    Garbage in, garbage out. When you need specific information and don’t have a lot of time to spend searching the internet, a few search modifiers will help you avoid the garbage, and zero in on your target.

    Every search engine is a bit different, but since they account for about 85% of all search engine traffic, we’ll focus on Google’s search modifiers.

    Basic Search Modifiers

    Almost everyone knows the basic search modifiers that help you find more relevant results:

    1. “ ” means an exact phrase. Example: “business card holders” yields results with exactly that phrase, not a portion of the phrase or related phrases.
    2. – means excluded words. Example: cell phones – Verizon yields results that exclude Verizon.
    3. ~ means similar words. For example: birthday candles yield results that might include birthday cards, birthday gifts, etc.
    4. OR means multiple words. Example: Train stations OR tracks yield train results that include stations or tracks.

    Now, Use More Advanced Search Modifiers

    In the examples below, enter the underlined term, or a similarity for your specific search, in the Google search bar:

    To find meanings: define: photogenic (if you want the definition of the word photogenic).

    To find particular sites: hydrogen peroxide site:edu (if you want hydrogen peroxide only on .edu sites).

    To find linked pages: (if you want to find pages that link to

    To find math answers: 30% of 55 (if you want to get the actual answer).

    To find conversions: cm in foot (if you want to get the converted answer).

    When you play with these search modifiers, it can almost become addictive!

    (Thanks to Google for the guidelines.)

    What tricks and tips make your searches more effective?


    For more resources, see our Library topics on Marketing and Social Networking.

    .. _____ ..

    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman:

    Ms. Chapman’s new book, How to Make Money Online With Social Media: A Step-by-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs will be available very soon. With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @