Steve Stone

Developer. Designer. Youth Worker. Nerd.

Google Search Techniques
September 28, 2011

These days, what can really set you apart is simply knowing what and how to search for something on Google in order to find answers quickly. It's impossible to know everything, but a few simple search techniques can help troubleshoot problems more efficiently. Here are a few of my favorites (syntax is in bold):


Sometimes you want to search for something ONLY on a certain companies website or forum.

(example: chili

- (hyphen)

When you want to subtract something from a search, use a - (hyphen) before the word you want to subtract.

(example: chili -white)

+ (plus sign)

The plus sign directly before a word means that that word will be searched exactly as-is, without Google's magical synonym formula. This is also especially helpful when searching commonly omitted words like "the" or "and".

(example: peanut butter +and chili)

" " (quotes)

Looking for exact phrasing can be key, especially with use of common words. Quote things to match exact phrasing.

(example: "Bob's famous chili")

~ (tilda)

Tilda place before a word tells Google to search not only for that word, but it's synonyms as well.

(example: ~tasty chili)