20 Tips for efficient Google Search | For Researchers & Power Users

Google search engine is used by a large number of people almost every day for a wide variety of reasons ranging from research to entertainment, online shopping and much more. But there’s significantly more potential in Google search that most people may not be using.

So, if you wish to use Google search more efficiently and get the search results quickly you can note the following 20 tips and tricks which will help you maximize your Google search efficiency.

Google search tips

Also Read: How search spiders find websites and index them on Google?

1. Using tabs

So, the first and foremost tip is to use the tabs in Google search. There are a number of tabs on the top of every search such as Web, Image, news, and more. These tabs can help in defining the kind of search you need to do. For instance, if you need images, you can use the Image tab or a News tab to look for a recent news article. It’s a basic method and many people use these tabs already. If you are not amongst these, then it is highly recommended to get associated with them as they can dramatically cut the time involved in searching if utilized properly.

2. Using quotes

If you are searching something specific, try using quotes as this will help in minimizing the guesswork for Google search. When the search parameters are put in quotes, then the search engine searches for the whole phrase. For instance, if you search for Morning Yoga Exercises, the engine will search for content that contains these three words in any order. However, if you search “Morning Yoga Exercises”, the search engine will search for the exact phrase as you typed it. This can help in locating specific information that may be hidden inside other content.

3. Using hyphen to exclude words

Sometimes you may search for a word such as Apple with an ambiguous meaning. When you Google search for words like Apple, you may get results for both the Apple brand or the fruit. If you are clear about what you want to search and wish to cut one out, then you can use hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other. For example, Apple –fruit. This tells the Google search engine to search for Apple but to remove any results that have the word “fruit” in it. It can be very helpful when finding information about something without getting particulars about something else.

4. Using a colon to search specific sites

Sometimes you might need to Google search for articles or content on a particular website. The syntax for such search is very simple – Urban Planning site: planning tank.com. If you need to find specific content on a specific site, then this is the shortcut you can use as it eliminates all other search results.

5. Finding a page that links to another page

This tip for Google search is a little ambiguous because instead of searching for a particular page, you’re searching for a page that links to a certain page. For example, if you want to see who cited Planning Tank article on their site, you would use this trick to find all the sites that link to it. Type the syntax – link:planningtank.com and this will return all the pages that link to the Planning Tank official website. The URL in this syntax can be practically anything. An important thing is that the more specific it is, the fewer results you’ll get.

6. Using asterisk wildcard

This trick is one of the most useful ones on the list. When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it leaves a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This can help to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. For instance, type the syntax – “i*raise*spirits”. Google search will itself search for the phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word. These are the lyrics to the song “Happier” and that’s what the search will tell you.

7. Finding sites that are similar to other sites

This trick is a useful one and can be practically used by everyone. This helps you in finding many related websites about anything. For example, if you wish to visit other websites similar to Planning Tank, then just type the syntax – related:planningtank.com If you search this particular syntax, you won’t find a link to Planning Tank. Instead, you’ll find links to other websites like Planning Tank. It’s a powerful Google search tip that can help you find new and similar sites to browse.

8. Using Googles search to do math

Google search can actually help you by doing math for you. It is a bit complex in nature but can be used in so many ways because it lets you ask basic questions or some more difficult ones. An important thing to note is that it won’t solve all the math problems, but it will solve majority of them. Some examples of the syntax could be – 3*4+2. If you search this, it’ll return 14. It will also show a calculator on the screen that you can use to find answers to more such questions. You can also search for the value of Planck’s Constant by typing Planck’s Constant in the search box and it will return with a number value.  So, it can do math for you and at the same time help you solve math problems by showing values for known mathematical terms.

9. Searching multiple words at once

Google search offers flexibility and lets you search for multiple terms because it knows that you may not find what you want by searching only a single word or phrase. This trick helps you learn to search for one word or phrase along with a second word or phrase. This can help you in narrowing down your search and find exactly what you’re looking for. An example of syntax can be – “Best ways to prepare for exams” OR “How to prepare for exams”. By searching in this way, you will search both phrases. The similar kind of search can be done by using words too, like – tea OR green tea. This will search for pages that have information regarding either tea or green tea.

10. Searching a range of numbers

Many people might not be knowing about this tip. It would be really useful for people interested in money or statistics particularly. All you need to do is to use two dots and a number which indicates Google that you’re looking for a specific range of numbers. So, if you type a syntax – Which teams have won the IPL ..2016, the search will return with the team that won the IPL in 2016. These two dots in the syntax with only one number indicates that you don’t need anything before or after that particular year (in this case 2016). This helps in improving the search results by narrowing down the searches to specific number. You can also search for 56..59. When you search for this, Google will search for the numbers in between the two.

11. Keeping it simple

Apart from the tips and tricks mentioned above, there are few general tips as well. We cannot deny the fact that Google search knows how to search for a lot of things. So, you do not need to be too specific every time. For instance, if you search, ice cream parlour near me, Google search will automatically grab your location and display a variety of results about ice cream parlours that are near you.

12. Adding search terms gradually

There might come a time when Google search doesn’t return back the results you expect. In this case, keeping the search simple may not be the best option. As Google itself suggests that the best method is to start with something simple and then gradually make it more complicated. For example-

First search: CBSE Board exams

Second search: prepare for CBSE board exams

Third search: how to prepare for CBSE board exams

This will help in gradually refining the search and bring you to fewer, more targeted terms.

13. Using words that websites would use

This tip is an important one. When people use Google search to explore the web, they generally search for things using the same language and words that they would generally use for speaking. But websites don’t say things the way people do because they try to use language that sounds much more professional. So, while searching you can use a more professional terminology that you would find on a website to get more reliable results. For example, “My tooth hurts” could be replaced by “Toothache relief”.

14. Using important words only

If you search for too many words, Google search may limit your results. This might lead to you taking much more time to find things. Thus, it is advisable to use only the important words when searching for something. Doing this can help you find what you need without all the clutter. So, it becomes important to keep it simple and use important words only.

Don’t use: Where can I find a North Indian restaurant  

Instead try: North Indian restaurants nearby Or North Indian restaurants near me.

15. Using shortcuts on Google search

Many easy commands can be entered to get instantaneous results. This helps in saving time and effort so that you don’t have to click a number of other links. These quick commands can take a web search which is usually multiple clicks and club it into a single search. Some of the examples are mentioned below –

Searching Time *place* will display the time of the place you type in.

Weather*zip/pin code* will show you the weather of that particular zip/pin code. Instead of area codes, you can also use town and city names.

16. Spelling doesn’t always matter

Even if you don’t know a particular spelling, there is nothing to worry because nowadays, you don’t even need to spell words correctly. As long as it’s pretty close and relatable, Google usually figures out what the misspelled word means. This trick is really useful in the times when you happen to forget how to spell something or are not sure how something is spelled. For instance, if you search “beautfool synym” Google will automatically assume you mean to search for “beautiful synonyms”. If by chance your misspelling was intentional then Google gives you an option to search for the misspelled term instead.

17. Using descriptive words

There might be times when you can’t find an answer if you search for something. In this case, try asking the same thing using different words and see if that helps the results because almost everything can be described in multiple ways. If you face trouble finding what you’re searching for, keep in mind that people may search or define the same thing you need in a different way than you do. For example, you may search “How to download ArcGIS?” when you really mean “How to install ArcGIS”.

18. Finding a specific file

If you wish to find a specific PDF or PowerPoint file that you previously viewed to use for some project then this is trick will prove to be useful. It can be useful for scholarly purposes or to make business presentations. The syntax is very simple – *Search term here*filetype:pdf. You can replace the search term with whatever you wish to search for followed by the filetype command and enter the extension of any file type you require.

19. Money and unit conversions

Google search helps in converting both measurement units and currency value quickly and accurately. This can be useful in many ways, like if you are going to some foreign country, you can check the conversion rate between two currencies. Unit conversions can be of great help in solving maths or physics problems. It helps in field of urban planning and related fields as well. Just simply type – hectares to acres and this will convert the area from hectares to acres. You can also put in numbers as per your need and you’ll get the accurate results. If you type Indian rupee to USD then this will convert an Indian rupee to a US dollar. You can add numbers as per your desire to find exact conversions for a certain amount of money.

20. Tracking your packages

You can also use Google search to find out where your packages are. This is much easier and quicker than going to the specific sites and searching for your packages there. You can simply enter your tracking number in the Google search bar and see where your package is.

Also Read: 10 tricks to use in the Google search engine


Using the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can find anything you need on the World Wide Web using Google search which is a very powerful search tool. Whether its about finding a particular file, learning a spelling or searching for a good restaurant nearby, there is a way to make Google search for you and make your work easier.