Fast, Furious, Fine-Tuned: Google Searching

Searching Google should feel like a joy ride, not a traffic jam.  Rev up that (search) engine and improve your performance with these tools.

  1. OR (all caps) Gets You More (broadens your search with more results)
  2. Use synonyms to get more websites with the same idea, group like terms with parenthesis.
  3. * Stands for, or truncates, any letter, group of letters, or even an entire word
  4. Find sites like the one you just found
  5. AND (all caps) Gets Your Less (narrows your search to fewer results)
  6. Use Quotation Marks for exact phrases
  7. Search a particular site
  8. Avoid a particular site
  9. Search for a particular file type
  10. Search within a range, be it price range, weight range, date range, etc

OR (all caps) Gets You More (broadens your search with more results), so Searching:

Cats OR Dogs

will bring up websites that mention cats without articles on dogs, sites with dogs, but not cats, and sites that have mentions of both, which means both cats and dogs.

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Use synonyms to gather more sites, separating them by OR, use parenthesis to group the terms, like this:

(teens OR adolescents OR teenagers OR minor OR juvenile OR youth)

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3.  * Stands for any letter, group of letters or entire word
creat*

will bring up websites with create creating creation creates or any other word beginning with creat

You can also use it in the middle of a word, for a single letter. Like this:

wom*n

You can also, get this, use if for an entire word.

* trucks

will get you dump trucks, tow trucks, international trucks, pick-up trucks, and you name it, trucks

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related:money.howstuffworks.com/economics/volunteer/opportunities/volunteer-work-for-teens2.htm

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AND Narrows Search Results, so searching:

Cats AND Dogs

will bring up only websites that mention both cats and dogs, but not ones that mention only one or the other.  It will not, however, find you hits on only cats, or only dogs.  The site must mention them both.

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If you’re searching for an exact phrase, each word in the exact order that you put it, including question words, prepositions, and articles (which Google normally ignores), use quotation marks, to avoid false hits. I.E. To search for the words, “balance of power,” put it in exactly like this:

“balance of power”

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Limit Search a Particular Site by using site: no space, the web address, like this example, which will pull up everything USA today has to say about college or colleges (using truncation):

site:usatoday.com AND college*

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To avoid results from a particular website, put a minus sign, -, immediately followed, without any spaces, the word site, colon, and the name of the site. I.E. to avoid Wikipedia, type this

-site:Wikipedia.com

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or any file type you’re looking for by typing filetype, colon, without spaces, and the file type you want. For pdf files, use this:

Filetype:pdf

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Use 2 dots to search a range, minimum number, two dots, maximum number. I.E. To find websites with personal computers from $200 to $400, you would search:

computer $200..$400

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Feel free to combine these techniques for even faster, more furious, and more fine-tuned search results.

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Author: Michelle Harvey

Michelle spent many years as special librarian- serving the business community. She is the mother of three, all of whom have very different learning styles, and has been homeschooling since 2010. During that time, she has overseen the raising of chickens, keeping bees, and loving a Sheltland Sheepdog.

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