One Clear Message Google Search tips

Do you, or your employees, spend hours searching Google? How clear is your communication within the Google Search engine?Google search

Below are some simple tips to help you get better information more efficiently.

1. Either | or: (OR |) Google will search for pages that contain all the words you type in the search box, e.g. Financial manager. If you want pages that have one term,  or both, use OR (or use the | symbol pipe symbol).  [ Chief Financial Officer | Chief Accounting Officer  ] – this will give you more search results. Useful if you are not sure which term is correct, or used by industry people. By default, Google includes all the terms specified in the search. The OR has to be capitalised. E.g. Internet marketing OR advertising  (internet marketing | advertising)

2. Exact phrase: (“”) Google will search for all the words you type in the window. If you attach a + immediately before a word (with no space after the +), you are telling Google to match that word precisely.  (“”) Double quotes around a set of words, tells Google to use the exact words in that order without any change. Using (“”) double quotes you might miss results accidentally. E.g. a search for “George Bush” will miss any pages that refer to the George H. W. Bush, and will get you all pages that refer to both George Bush’s (W (jr) and H. W. snr).

3. Search for Synonyms: (~) By using ~ before the keyword Google will search for webpages with the given word and similes. E.g. Typing in ~guide also searches for keywords: tutorial, manual, reference etc. e.g. Training ~guide

4. Exclude Keywords in the Search: (-) Use a(minus), after a space, before the words you want to exclude. This indicates that you do not want pages that contain this word in your results.  A query for anti-virus -software will search for the words anti-virus but exclude references to software (it is the space before the – that changes it from a hyphen to a “leave out”). You can place a hyphen before site: (without a space) to exclude a specific site from your search results. Remove affiliate sites from product searches e.g. Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down will give you results excluding these sites.

5. Numeric Ranges: (X..Y) If you need to find results that contain any of a range of numbers, e.g. president 1994..1998

6. Calculator:  To do a quick calculation, type your sum in to Google. E.g. 278512 * 1.172  Will give you the answer: 278 512 * 1.17200 = 326 416.064

7. Specific Document Types: (filetype:) To find specific file types you can use filetype:  e.g. For ppt, pdf or word documents related to internet marketing type “internet marketing” filetype:ppt will get you ppt presentations with the title internet marketing.

8. Fill in the blanks: (*)  The (*) wildcard included within a query tells Google to use the * as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and to find the best matches. E.g. the search Google * will give you results about all Google’s products. The * works only on whole words, not parts of words.

9. Word Definitions:  (define:) To get a definition for a word type define: the desired word to look up. E.g. define: success

10. Search for a Range: (..) If you are looking for a product in a specific price range use (..) to clarify the search. Laptops R2000..R3000 will search for the pages with text laptops, and R2000 to 3000 ranged text. best books 2002..2007 will return lists of best books for each of the years from 2002 to 2007.

11. Site Specific Search: (site:) When you want to search a specific website for content use site:.  e.g. Use the accountant to find accountants on LinkedIn. Use this to search for information within a site.

12. Backlinks: (link:) Using link: will find pages that link to the specific URL. You can use this for a main URL and even for a specific page. e.g. link: will give you links to that page. Not all links to an URL are listed though.

13. Location of term: (inurl:, intitle:, intext:, and inanchor:)  Google normally searches for your term throughout a web page. If you just want it to search certain locations, you can use inurl:, intitle:, intext:, and inanchor:. These search for a term only within the URL, the title, the body text, and the anchor text (the text used to describe a link).

14. Related content: (related:) When you find a great site or resource use related: to find similar pages. E.g. related: to find other great content.

Here are some additional useful Google search tips.

  • Use words that are most likely to appear on the page. Consider what words the web site host /author might use. You may not find the page you are looking for if you use a word that, even though it has the correct meaning, is not the one most people use in the industry or field. For example, celebrity ringtones is clear and specific versus celebrity sounds. A query such as in what country is being hit with bird droppings considered a positive omen, or good luck? May be clear to you, but the page or document that gives the answer may not use that phrase. Consider using bird droppings good luck.
  • Use Google Instant. Google instant allows results to appear while you are typing. Go to the top of the Google page, click Settings, click search settings … Go down to Google instant and check the Use Google Instant — predictions and results appear while typing.
  • Choose relevant descriptive words. Unique words are more likely you are to get relevant results. Careful of general words, like ‘document,’ ‘website,’ ‘company,’ or ‘info,’ as they broaden the search result and make finding the right information.
  • AND. Google recognises spaces as an AND. As Google limits the number of words you can use in a search (around 25), don’t waste valuable words with “and”s if you don’t need to.
  • Use the advanced search. It is an easy way to filter a process.  Assuming that many resume sites use the term “view resumes” to access their resume database, try this:

1. Go to

2. Click the link to the Advanced Search page at the top.

  1. Type search term in all these words:  e.g. Financial manager then e.g. into the field that says this exact wording or phrase:. Type view resumes
  2. In But don’t show pages that have… Type words to exclude
  3. Scroll down to +Date, usage rights, region, and more, click +, scroll down to Where your keywords show up: and select in links to the page. Chose Region: South Africa
  4. Click the Advanced Search button.

You can add additional keywords and other limiters to pare the results down a bit, possibly to your geographic region, specialty, etc.


Or download a handy PDF version : OCM Google Search tips table.pdf

One Clear Message Google Search tips Infographic