How to Search on Google


Nowadays, life revolves around searching the internet to find answers to almost all of life’s questions. From checking your medical symptoms, looking up historical facts, or checking to see what day of the week September 25th, 1954 fell on, most information is at our fingertips – although I do recommend checking with a doctor instead of Google to see if you are sick. 

Most people can find what they need by performing a simple search but search engines like Google have methods built-in that help you get accurate information faster.

Searching in quotes

Let’s say you want to search for a specific phrase – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. If you don’t put the text inside quotes, Google will search for any article that has those words in it regardless of the order. Since those words are fairly common, they could pull up quite a few articles that have nothing to do with "A Tale of Two Cities" or Charles Dickens. However, if you search for those words in quotes, Google will only look for websites that have that specific phrase in it showing more relevant content.

Search a specific timeframe

Google also lets you refine your search based on the time the page was published. If you click the button “Tools”, then a dropdown will display that allows you to select pages published any time (the default), the past hour, 24 hours, week, month, year, and then a custom range. This can be helpful when trying to look for something in the news that happened at a specific time or finding a fix for a program that came out at a specific time (ie it wouldn’t be helpful searching support forums for Windows XP when the problem is on Windows 10).


Exclude words from a search

If you are searching for something but want to exclude a popular word associated with that phrase, put a minus (-) before the word(s) that you don’t want included in the search. For example, if you wanted to search for a tablet but didn’t want to see and iPads, you would search “tablet -ipad” (without quotes). Google will come back with tablet results that are not iPads.

Using * for a variable inside quotes

If you have a quote that you want to search specifically for but don’t remember all of the words, you can use an asterisk (*) to replace that word. For example, you are listening to the radio on your way home from work and you hear a song that you want to search for later but don’t remember exactly what the lyrics are, you can substitute that word. For example, you might type in “I get by with a little * from my friends” (without quotes)  and the results will come up with ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’ by the Beatles.

Search a specific website for a word

If you wanted to search on a specific website for something but they don’t have a search bar (or it’s not working well). You can tell google to search for a keyword in a specific website by putting “site:URL” before the search term. For example, if you wanted to search the Carbon8 website for any text about SEO, you would search for “site:carbon8.com SEO” (without quotes)  and all of the results will be from the Carbon8 website about SEO.


Define a word

To search for a definition of a word, start with “Define:” and then the word you want defined. This even works for slang and other pop culture words. For example, if you put “Define: fam” (without quotes)  Google’s dictionary will respond with “family” and use it in a sentence.


Searching for a flight or directions

Google also can give you flight times and prices much like 3rd party sites that find all of the best deals. For example, if you type “Denver to Las Vegas” (without quotes), it will show a box with dates, airports, and the cheapest flight options. If you keep scrolling down the page, it shows you driving directions.


Flip a coin

If you are hanging out with friends and need to make a decision, you can always ask Google to flip a coin for you by typing “Flip a coin” (without quotes) and it will virtually flip a coin for you.

Search a range of numbers

If you want to search a range of numbers, type the two numbers in with two dots (..) between them while including the unit of measurements. For example, if you are looking for a camera between $100 and $300, you would search for “camera $100..$300” (without quotes). By doing this you don’t have to be tempted by the cameras that are over your budget.

Calculate information

Google also allows you to calculate various information. Of course there are standard math equations like 123+456= 579 and the sin of 30 = -0.98803162409 but it can also convert measurements like 39.3701 inches in a meter (search ‘inches in a meter’ - without quotes) or time zones (9am Denver time is 12am in China – search ‘9am Denver time in China’ – without quotes)

Have more Google-related questions? Carbon8's Google experts are here to help. Reach out to us today and let's start something!

Katie Phillips

Katie Phillips is a Frontend Developer at Carbon8. In between coding websites, you can find her working to find a cost effective, creative solution to whatever clients dream up.

Prior to Carbon8, Katie has worked as the development team at a Denver design agency. She has worked on projects from nationwide buying groups for office supplies to small startups across the country.

Katie graduated from Creighton University with a degree in Graphic Design and minors in French and Interactive Web Design. Even though she started out as a web designer, Katie quickly found a passion in building them as well. In her spare time, you can find Katie reading a book, skiing in Winter Park, or diving down to a shipwreck in the Caribbean.


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