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Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Everyone knows how to do a Google Search, right? Go to the site, type whatever it is you’re looking for into the search bar, and you’re off to the races. Fewer people are aware, however, of the ways that you can help Google narrow its search a bit. Let’s go over a few handy Google cheat codes that can make your search results more precise.

Basic Searches

There are many simple ways that you can adjust your Google search queries.


Adding a hyphen (representative of a subtraction mark in this case) allows you to preemptively omit any search results that include a term. For instance, if you wanted to learn about computer hardware for your business, and didn’t want to see tons of gaming hardware, you could search for computer hardware -gaming.


The pipe icon enables you to effectively run two searches at once. By separating your queries with the pipe, it effectively serves as a stand-in for or as Google considers your results. So, if you were to search for tortilla | jazzercise, your results page would become an entertaining mix of recipes and locations to take a class.


Parentheses can help you add some context to your search. By emphasizing it separately from the rest of your search query, the parentheses tell Google that their contents should impact the rest of the search. Let’s say that you needed to plan a bowling-themed birthday party. Searching for (bowling) birthday party ideas could provide you with a smorgasbord of resources and party supplies vendors, all dedicated to birthday parties with a bowling theme.

Search Operators


Sometimes, you know that you’ve seen something on a specific website, but when you go back later, you can’t seem to find it. Adding this tag into your Google search allows you to tell Google the specific website you want to search. For instance, let’s say you were looking for a specific blog that we posted about data backup. On Google, you could search for data backup site:


Google even enables its users to define their searches down to the filetype. Adding filetype:pdf will only return results for the defined search that come in PDF form.


We’ve all had those moments where we can remember something that we read, word-for-word, but we just can’t remember where we read it. Google can help. By typing in the remembered phrase after intext:, Google will scan the on-page text for that phrase and kick it back to you.

Which of these do you see being the most useful to you? Let us know in the comments how they work out for you! For more IT tips, best practices, and support services, 415 IT is always here. Reach out to us at (415) 295-4898.

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