Advanced Google Searches

Advanced Google Searches - RF CafeA lot of time can be wasted when performing Internet searches. With tens of thousands of pages likely containing at least some reference to whatever it is you are looking for, drilling down into data to retrieve relevant web pages can be difficult or impossible. Fortunately, if you know about a few handy special search formats, you can increase your likelihood of success greatly. Here are a few I use quite often. Search terms are not case sensitive, but note that the OR operator is. You may combine any or all of these special operators as long as the syntax rules are followed. If you don't want to remember all the special search formats, simply type in "advanced search" to get a search page with all these options implemented. BTW, one of the best tricks I've discovered for using along with the standard search is to do an Image search since chances are good that if a web page has a picture of what you're after, it will have relevant information as well.
  • Search for an exact word or phrase.

    This is something almost everyone knows about. Place quote marks around the word or phrase you want. Be careful, though, because you can easily exclude otherwise relevant search results.

    Example:  "3 db hybrid coupler"  returns only pages containing every character in that exact phrase.

  • Exclude a particular word or words.

    Most people know about this one, too. Place a - (dash) before a word or site to exclude all results that include that word.

    Example:  filter -water -oil  returns pages with all types of filters without the words 'water' or 'oil' on them.

  • Search within a site or domain.

    Limit search results to those coming from a specific website by using site:URL along with the search term(s). The other special characters can be used as well. The site:URL directive can be placed before or after the search term(s).

    Example: gps  returns pages with 'gps' on them, and then only from
                     the Linx Technologies website.

  • Search for pages that link to a URL.

    Find web pages that contain a hyperlink pointing to a particular URL by using link:URL.

    Example:  returns all web pages that contain a link to the Anatech Electronics
                     website. Don't think that those returned are the only pages on the entire Internet that point to
                     that website because even Google has only a small fraction of all web pages in its database.
                     You can also search down to a specific page on a website, as in

  • Search for pages that are similar to a URL.

    To find sites that are similar to a URL you already know, use the related: operator.

    Example:  returns web pages from sites similar to FerriShield. These are known
                     as competitors, like 3Gmetalworx, Fotofab, and Orbel.

  • Include a wildcard character.

    The * (asterisk) character is used a placeholder in a string of words. One exception to be careful of is that when used between two numbers, it is interpreted as a 'multiply' operator.

    Example:  "university of" * "department of engineering"  returns pages with the exact phrase "university of
                    and then any word or words and then the exact phrase department of engineering. Note that
                    this combines the exact word or phrase method along with the wildcard character.

  • Search for either word.

    The OR keyword (must be capitalized) performs a logical OR function to search for specific words without requiring that all the words be present on the web page.

    Example:  isolator OR circulator "waveguide"  returns pages with either isolator or circulator on them that
                    also includes the word waveguide (combines two special search methods).

  • Search for a number range.

    Placing .. (two periods) between two numbers (without space) returns pages with a numerical series bounded by the low and high number. Use the .. operator after a number to return only numbers equal to or greater than that lower bound, or use the .. operator before a number to define an upper bound. It works for entities like dates, prices, and measurements.

    Example:  10..50 mhz oscillator  returns web pages containing information on oscillators in the
                     10 to 50 MHz range.  ..50 mhz oscillator returns only pages with oscillators equal to or
                     less than 50 MHz.

There may be other special operators that can be used. Please let me know if you know of any.

Posted  November 11, 2013