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10 Things you probably didn’t know Google can do!

Searching Google is pretty straight forward; type in what you’re looking for and hit search. However, did you know Google has additional search options and tools that can help you discover those hard to find pieces of information, or even to search directly within a site for a page or bookmark you may have lost?

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know you could do on Google Search.

1. Basic search rules
2. Basic operators
3. Show reading level results
4. Show recent results by time and sort by date
5. Verbatim search
6. Google calculator
7. Conversions
8. Other [ query: ] style searches
9. Find Creative Commons material
10. Searches to help with your SEO


1. Basic search rules

a) Google does not regard case in searches (eg ‘kEYwoRD’ is the same as ‘keyword’), however some of the operators listed below aren’t.
b) Google will remove stop words (the, I, a) from your search query.
c) If you type a basic search string in, Google will show pages with all words first, trying to find the words in order. This is modified when you use operators.
d) As a general rule, punctuation is ignored. ( + , @ , & , % , $ , # , _ are used as well as mathematics queries, more below)

2. Basic operators

Need to refine a search? Or search within a range of information? Below are the basic operators you can use to quickly find exactly what you are looking for.

a) [ “ ”] This is known as an exact match search and is very precise. Google will try to find the exact set of words in the exact order. Google recommends it for finding song lyrics and literature; however, also good for getting rid of Google Maps listings when you have a location search and don’t want to see them.
example search: “searching google”
b) [ – ] This will exclude the particular keyword or query from the search results
example search: search engine -bing –yahoo -google
c) [ ~ ] Can replace the word with a synonym
example search: best car ~travel
d) [ * ] The asterisk acts as a ‘fill in the blank’ or wildcard.
example search: smells like * spirit
e) [ OR ] Without the OR between words Google will try to match them both. Use the OR to indicate that either of them will do. Case sensitive.
example search: best wine bar sydney OR melbourne
f) [ .. ] If you are searching a number range separate the digits by two periods ‘..’
example search: haircuts $10..$20 australia
g) [ site: ] Use the site: function to search within a site, can also search within a range of sites or a range of domain types.
example search: site:smh.com.au big day out
or examples search 2: site:.gov.au big day out

3. Show Reading Level Results

After clicking the search tools box within your results page you can adjust the reading level of the pages shown within a search result. It also gives you a distribution of the content found at the three reading levels it filters for.

google reading age picture 1

And on the other end of the specturm

google reading age picture 2

4. Show recent results by time and sort by date.

Need to know the most recent bit of content published on a site, or published about your brand name, use a combination of operators with the search tools ‘time’ and ‘sorted by’ to filter your results to the most recent. Also great to see what is being published about a topic basically as soon as Google finds it.

google site query image

Obituary censored

5. Verbatim Search

This tool found again under search tools allows you to perform a search without any personalisation, synonyms, similar and stem (eg ‘drive’ ‘driving’) terms getting in the way. Useful for searching very exact keywords or phrases.

Example normal search

google verbatim search screenshot 1

Example verbatim search

google verbatim search screenshot 2

6. Google Calculator

Next time some college steals your calculator try entering the calculation straight into Google. You can use all the basic maths commands + – / * % ^ as well as square root (sqrt) Trigonometry (sin, cos, arctan, tan, cosin) and much more.

example search: 13 + 6 + 9 * sqrt 81

7. Conversions

Convert almost anything to anything just type it straight into Google.

some example searches:

convert 2.5 cups to grams
convert 100 pounds to kg
convert 25 hectares to acres
convert 100 horsepower to kw
convert 50324 days to years
convert 1 meter into lightyears

Try out some of those searches along with almost any other conversion you can think of!

8. Other [ query: ] style searches

a) [ weather: ] to return the weather forecast for almost any town.
example search: weather: Sydney
b) [ define: ] to return the definition of a word
example search: define: pragmatism
c) [ movie: ] to check local session times for a film
example search: movie: the hobbit sydney
d) [ stocks: ] to check stocks
example search: stocks: goog
e) [ related: ] displays related websites
example search: related:www.smh.com.au
f) [ info: ] displays information about a website
example search: info:www.smh.com.au
g) [ filetype: ] searches for a specific filetype
example search: monthly tax table filetype:pdf

9. Find Creative Commons material

Looking for a piece of content  for your site? Be it an image, video, music or article finding great creative commons works is a excellent way to gather great material that ultimately benefit your websites visitors – Be sure to understand the different types of creative commons licenses here – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Within your search results window simply navigate to the advanced search button and choose ‘usage rights’ to filter for the type of license you require

screenshot google creative commons search

10. Searches to help with your SEO

The following searches are especially useful to help you with your SEO. Check out your current efforts or explore your competitor’s strategies.

a) Use a combination of the [ site: ] and [ – ] operators to discover your website mentions on other sites and backlinks.
example search: www.smh.com.au –site:www.smh.com.au
b) [ inurl: ] searches show results with the query in the websites URL, also to expand on this query to all words use [ allinurl: ]
example search: inurl:carsales
c) [ intitle: ] searches show results with the query in the websites title, also to expand on the query to all words us [ allintitle: ]
example search: allintitle:it’s raining men
d) [ intext: ] searches show results that have the specific word within the text – not really that useful unless you have a very specific brand name, but, [ allintext: ] comes in handy quite a bit for checking for copyright infringement or duplicate content on your website.
examples search: allintext:Two households, both alike in dignity

A further note on discovering duplicate content.

Performing the search site:yourdomain.com can reveal some interesting facts about your website and show in order pages that are considered the most important by Google. Don’t forget to go to the end of the search results and click the “repeat the search with the omitted results included” to discover duplicate content issues.

image repeat search with omitted results

I hope you have found this article interesting and if you have any other tips let us know in the comments section below.

By www.clickclickmedia.com.au – Google AdWords and website optimisation experts.

Posted on January 16, 2013 by


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