Search Tips and Tricks You Must Know For Advanced Searching

If you understand how to perform sophisticated searches of online information, you will greatly increase your chances of finding what you want. If you know the right commands and usage, you will not only find the information but also save plenty of time.

Using Phrase Searching

Enclosing the words in quotation marks makes the search engine return only webpages containing the exact phrase. Here is an example: If you search information using “make money” as your search query, the search engine will not show you the webpages which do contain make and money but are not in that order. This will also eliminate pages containing make and money in entirely different paragraphs, a major problem when you search without quotes.

search tips and tricks

Using Truncation

If you are looking for information on designing, you could use it as your keyword. However, if your results are limited in number and you want to broaden your search, you can use a root part of the word and abbreviate it with an asterisk (design*). The engine will return links to pages containing design, designs, designer, designers, and so on.

Using Capital Sensitivity

If a search keyword is capitalized, the search engine will return only documents containing the capitalized word.

Using Boolean Logic

These are perhaps the most useful feature in defining search criteria. Boolean operators provide us with powerful control. AND, OR, NOT, NEAR and parentheses are various Boolean operators that we can use to define our search better.

Note: All Boolean operators are to be written in capital letters otherwise search engine would treat them as keywords


AND is used when you want a webpage that should contain all of your keywords. The search engine will display only those pages that have both keywords. For example: Using the search keywords internet AND business would return all pages that have both the words.


OR is used if you want to broaden your search to find webpages that contain either of the keywords. This is very useful tool when searching for terms that have synonyms. An example is money OR wealth, which would return any webpage that had either of the keywords.


This operator is similar to but more specific form of the AND operator. Not only it ensures that the document contains both terms but also that they are located near each other. I find this a better operator as AND can return in pages which have two keywords far away and not relevant enough.


If you use capitalized AND NOT preceding a search term, it would eliminate webpages that contain that term. If you want to find information on info products and do not want documents that include information relating to audio-books could use “info products” AND NOT audio-books.

Note:The usage depends on the engine. Both NOT and AND NOT have same role


AND, NEAR, OR and AND NOT, when used in conjunction with parentheses offer substantial control over the search logic used by the engine. We would understand use of parentheses by an example.

If you want to find a business tutorial you may use the search term as business AND (tutorial OR lesson). This would tell the search engine that webpages returned must contain both of the words business and tutorial or business and lesson. The parentheses distribute the keyword business to either of the two “OR” words inside the symbols.

Similarly if you were looking for information on cyberlaw you might want to use “cyberlaw” OR (legislation AND internet), which would return documents with the words cyberlaw or documents containing the word internet and the word legislation.

You can even nest one set of parentheses inside another to further refine the search. Since the word law/laws is a synonym of legislation we can truncate law and do this.

“Cyberlaw” OR (interent AND (law* OR legislation))

This would tell engine to search for cyberlaw or pages containing internet and law(s) or internet and legislation.

Note: Some engines use + or sign instead of AND and NOT. For example for searching home business you can use home+business [ No space between word and +]. and search will bring the pages containing both terms.

Using Specific Searches

If search engine offers you can limit searches to specific areas, the most common being the document title and URL.

Title search: If you are looking for information on search engine optimization and think that there are entire web pages devoted to your subject having the keywords in the titles, you can use:

title: search engine optimization.

Similarly you can do a URL search. If you are looking for all pages from Microsoft, you could use: url: Microsoft, which would return web pages created by Microsoft and others having Microsoft in URl.

Using Restricted Searches

Some engines allow you to limit your searches to “country” or “newsgroups” or blogs. Some search engines also allow you to search specific media such as audio, video, images etc.

Local Search

Local search is supported by all the major players and results are displayed differently.

Here are more search tips and tricks in relation to Google but I am sure many of them would be useful for other search engines also.

Add Extra Keyword To Regular Search

Add some extra keyword to your regular keyword that you intend to search. Keywords like FAQ, Guide, Tip, How-to etc can make your results more focused.

Use Operators

Operators are symbols that are used with variables to allow us to perform certain functions. You can use following operators in your search with huge effect.

  • Quotation marks – As in “search keyword”. This would make sure that only pages containing particular word or phrase are selected.
  • Adding  Intitle: before keyword makes your search more refined by including only sites with the keyword in their title text
  • Similarly adding Inurl: returns results where the url contains the keywords you’ve selected
  • And adding Link: returns the number of links a Web site has
  • Adding  Site: returns how many  pages a site has in Google
  • Adding Related: before keyword returns results related to your keyword
  • Adding Define: shows definitions for your keyword from various sources
  • Using + sign between two words would result all the pages that contain both of the words
  • Using ~ sign before the term returns synonyms for the term
  • Using – sign before a word would exclude the pages containing that word
  • Using * sign after after a part of sentence tells Google to complete that sentence

Using Places Other Than Google Home Page

Google Code Search –

Google Book Search –

Google Scholar –

Google News Archive –

Google Government Search –

I hope that you find these useful. If you have tips that you want to share with the readers of the blog, please leave them in comments.

Using vertical search

Vertical Search is a new dimension in search engine industry that focuses on specialized areas for its search activity.

Google and Yahoo are broad based search engines that index everything available on the web. When you enter term “make money” the broad base search engine such as Google, it would list all the pages from every nook and corner.

Google does not know who is at the other end and what he would be interested in. It would assimilate all pages with relevant keywords and arrange them in order it thinks is most relevant for the search term.

But for the same term a stock broker would have an interest in different pages and an internet marketer would want different pages to be shown.

Both of them would be looking for different sets of pages for the exactly same keywords.

With technology pampering us and our life becoming more and more focused, we want everything the way we want. Surprisingly, the technology always comes with an answer.

If we have two search engines one of which deals in internet marketing and other in stocks, both the persons would strike relevant pages at one go.

This is the basic concept behind vertical search.

Broad-based search engines fetch very large numbers of documents using a crawler. Another program called an indexer then reads these documents and creates a search index based on words contained in each document. Each search engine uses its own algorithm to create its indexes so that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query.

Vertical search engines, on the other hand, send their spiders out to a highly refined database, and their indexes contain information about a specific topic. As a result, they are of most value to people interested in a particular area.

Google Blog search, Google Local, Google Scholar are examples of vertical search engines.

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