10 awesome Google search hacks you need to know

10 Awesome Google search hacks you need to know

As a blogger I spend a huge amount of time Googling search terms while researching for my next blog post. Over the years I have picked up a variety of handy tips to make my Google searches more specific, which lead to better focused search results in as few queries as possible.

Talk about a time saver!

This week on Maine on the Blogs, I offer you my top-10 favorite Google search hacks that have proven to be terrifically easy to remember and a boon to my research skills.

1) Word definitions

For a quick reference dictionary you can type :define after a word and Google will bring directly to the dictionary definition of that word. For example, if I want to define the word ‘blog’ then I type blog :define and this is what Google shows me:

blog :define

 2) Word synonyms

For a quick reference synonym finder for those moments when you can’t think of just the right word you can use the tilde ~. For example if want to find a synonym for the word ‘blog’ then I type ~writer and this is what Google shows me:


3) Exact word order

For a quick way to find an exact word order simple put quotes around the words you want Google to look for. For example if I am looking for a song title but I only know a line in the song then I could type this “I want to be a paperback writer” and this is what Google shows me:

quotemarks searches on Google

4) Search for either one thing or another

If you want to search for two terms at the same time you can tell Google to use the OR function. It goes like this: farming OR homesteading. It is important that you type “OR” in all caps. This is what Google will show you:

farming OR homesteading

5) Excluding a word

If you are doing a search for a term that commonly has multiple meanings then you can use the exclusion function, which tells Google to search for a specific meaning of your word. For example, if I type lemonade -Beyonce then Google will show me this:

lemonade -Beyonce

6) Search by title

To search for something by title on Google you can type this: intitle: white whale and then Google will show you something like this:

intitle: white whale

7) Searching for a GIF

If you are searching for a GIF file to put in your blog post then you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Google Images
  2. Select search tools
  3. Select Type
  4. Select Animation

From there you can scroll though a ton of GIFs. Like this one:


8) Fill in the blanks

If you have an incomplete idea about what you are searching for then you can use blanks as fields for Google to fill in by using an asterisk. For example, if I type never look a * in the * then Google will show me this:

fill in the blank

9) Search within a site

If you are searching for information within a site then you can ask Google to help you by using site:. For example, if I type site: www.bangordailynews.com blogs then Google will show me this:

search within a site

10) Search for a specific date range

To search for specific information online that falls between two dates — like an article publication, for example — you can tell Google to look for a date range by using the following steps:

  1. Type something in Google
  2. Select search tools
  3. Select Any time
  4. Select Custom range

For example, when I follow these steps for Maine on the Blogs and I custom search for February 1, 2016 to March 1, 2016 then Google shows me this:

search within a site

For something especially fun, try this BONUS tip: Type “do a barrel roll” into Google and report back here in the comments and what you see!

The next time you are on Google looking up anything from the best pizza joint to how to convert nautical miles to road miles, remember these handy search hacks and save yourself some time and impress your friends!

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Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.