The Ins and Outs of Google Search

To use the full potential of Google search I wrote this Google Search list with tips and tricks on how to use Google search.


- Symbol

If you want to ignore a certain word in your query you can do that with the -symbol.

For example pc -all-in-one.

If you want to ignore an entire  website while searching Google you add –site: to your query. For example



Advanced Search

If you visit Google Advanced Search you find a very extended form in which you can define all criteria for your search. You can filter on language, region, file extension, and much more. You can fill in the words to search for, the words not to search for, the exact words or you can even search for certain numbers.


Alerts from Google in your e-mail

If you want to receive an alert from Google when interesting new news on a certain subject is found in Google you can use Google Alerts to receive alerts on a certain objects. You can also define the source of the alert and the frequency of the alerts.


Asterisk * Symbol

It’s also possible that you for example search a DVD and you do not know the full title. In that case you can replace the missing word for an asterisk, that is the * symbol. For example: The * Soraya M. Which will result in "The Stoning of Soraya M".


Boolean Search

A type of search in which users can combine keywords with AND, NOT and OR to limit or widen their relevant search results



You can use Google search as a calculator. For example type in 75 + 25 in Google.  You can use Google search for simple and complex calculations.



Did you  know that Google stores copies of websites just if the original website is not available? With the use of Google Cache you can visit an older version of a webpage. If you want to visit a cached version of a website copy the following code in the address bar of Google Search:

Cache:<Website URL> ​

or use the Way Back Machine



Google can help you determine if you are allowed to use or reuse or share an image or photo on your website. 

Let’s say you search for “Birthday 2016”.  Click on Images  and after that click on Tools. After that click Copiright.  Select "labeled for reuse with modification" to find images that you can reuse on your own website. As an alternative you can also use Google images  to find similar images and to determine who is the owner of an image or photo. 

*Copyright Claims: You do not want to use a photo or image and for example get an expensive claim from for example of Getty images or Permission Machine. They have very advanced software and you do not want to get a fine of $1000,- per image. So you should always determine if you are alowed to use an image or photo. 


Diacritical mark symbol ~.

In Google you search with keywords, use simple but relevant keywords. If you do not know synonyms for the words you use in a query you can use the diacritical mark symbol: ~. For example: ~studybooks


File type

For a certain file type you can use the filetype: code in your query. You could use this code for many file extensions like doc, pdf, ppt and xls.

If you look for famous cars with a Excel list you could use: "famous cars" filetype:xls. If you want to exclude excel files in your search results, you  could use: "famous cars" -filetype:xls.


Filter Search Results

If you have filled in a search query in Google you can filter the results if you click on filter. After that you can select which results you want to see.



If you want to go on holidays or travel somewhere you can use Google Flights to find the cheapest travel tickets.


Google Maps

With Google Maps you can search a company with the name or address of the company. It’s very handy if you want to visit a certain location because you can find a map of the location but you can also use Google maps for street view, in this way you can see how buildings look like and look inside the streets on your computer.



Use the word OR you can adjust choices in your query, make sure OR is written in capital letters. For example: Walking route OR Cycling route in the Netherlands.


Quotation marks

Add words in between quotation marks you to find websites that contain that exact words in the same order. It’s also handy to use the quotation marks if your query contains for example the, a or an. Those words are ignored by Google without quotation marks. It does matter for example if you search for The Garage without quotation marks or for “The Garage”.


Safe Search filters

You can use Safe filters, to filter out explicit or unwanted search results. Click on Settings and turn on SafeSearch to turn on SafeSearch.


Speech-driven Search

It’s possible to search Google by using your voice “speech-driven”. Click on the microphone in the searchbar. Google will ask permission to use permission to use your microphone. After that you can use your voice to give search terms.