How to Use Shortcuts and Symbols in Google Search?
Google is the most used search engines on this planet for English language. Due to the fact that most of the people around the world are not native English speakers, they don't use the search engine properly. For every single search, you will get millions or even bullion of results in Google. In this situation it makes sense to optimize your search keyword to get better results.
In general, Google is the smartest search engine compared to Bing or Yahoo! But there are many unknown secrets that even the Google engineers may not know about them. In this article let us discuss about how to use shortcuts and symbols in Google search to get quicker results relatively in fraction of seconds.
1. Using Symbols in Google Search
Using symbols in Google search is a trick and you need to exactly understand the symbols recognized by Google. For example, searching “mango!” is considered by Google simply as “mango” without any additional filtering. Symbols can be used to confine search results only when you know how to use them.
This article explains some of the easy to use symbols in Google search to refine your search results.
1.1. - Dash or Minus Symbol
Minus or dash or hyphen symbol is used to remove specific words from Google search results. There are many ways to restrict the search using dash symbol. If you do not want the search results to include a specific site then use the query like "news -site:cnn.com". This will exclude CNN from the search results and show all other relevant results. Dash symbol can also be used to exclude a specific word from the search. For example, “LG -tv” will show the results of all LG products except TVs.
If you want Google to exclude a word while searching the web page, use – (minus) before the search. The general syntax is as follows:
(Keyword to search) -(Keyword to exclude)
For example "free ebooks -site:ebay.com" searches for the free ebook sites excluding ebay.com.
1.2. $ Dollar Symbol
Dollar symbol is used to get the products with the price in $ mentioned in the search query. Search “LG $1000” to get all products from LG with the having price tag of $1000.
1.3. + Plus Symbol
Plus symbol is mainly used to search Google+ pages. For example, searching for “+webnots” will return the Google+ page belongs to this site. If the search term has a broader results or meaning then all related results will be shown in addition to Google+ page.
+ symbol is also used to search blood groups independently or combined with other words. Example: donors ab+ blood
1.4. @ At Symbol
The @ symbol is used to find relevant social tags mainly from Twitter and other social platforms having usernames starting with @. Searching “@webnots” will show the first result from Twitter user profile along with other results from social sites.
1.5. # Hash Symbol
Hashtag is mainly used by social media sites to group together all relevant posts containing a particular word prefixed by #. For example, searching "#storytime" will display all related articles having the hashtag "#storytime".
1.6. _ Underscore Symbol
Underscore is the symbol in Google search used to connect two words. When you search “get_start” Google will return related pages having either “get_start” as it is or connected as “getstart” without the underscore.
1.7. " " Double Quotes Symbol
Double quotes are used to force Google searching the exact words or phrase mentioned within the quotes. For example, “fox and crane” will results all pages containing this phrase. Google also uses synonyms of the words within the quotes, as in this example you can also see results for “fox and stork”.
1.8. * Asterisk Symbol
Asterisk symbol is used for wild card searches in Google. It can be used multiple times in a single query and used within quotes. Searching "Fortune * the bold" with quotes will show pages containing the exact phrase in the same sequence replacing * with any other word like “favors”.
While searching, if you are not sure about which keyword to be placed in the phrase, you can match any single word using wildcard * search. For example, if you want to search for iPhone alternatives, and you are not sure whether to search for “iPhone find and replace examples”, or “iPhone search and replace examples”, then using * will match either find, search or any other word as "iPhone * and replace examples".
1.9. Range or Double Dots (..)
Want to search for the TVs from $1000 to $2000? The double dots will do the trick in Google search. It is used as a range operator to find all relevant results within the specified range. Search “TV $1000..$2000” to get all TV products between $1000 to $2000 range.
Similarly range operator can also be used to filter the search results for dates and measurements like kilometer, liter, etc.
1.10. Tilde Symbol (~)
The tilde symbol informs Google to search similar keywords withe same synonyms. You need to just add ~ symbol before the search keyword. For example, giving ~tutorial also display results for the synonyms like guide, manual, reference etc.
2. Using Shortcuts in Google Search
Shortcuts help to get the search results easier than typing the full keywords. In fact, it saves lot of time by getting the results directly on the search page instead of opening another site to get the information.
2.1. Find Local Time of a City
If you want to know current local time in a particular city, use this syntax in Google search box:
To see the current local time in Los Angeles type "time Los Angeles" in the search box and hit enter. Go ahead and try this yourself for your local city and see how it works.
2.2. Use OR in Google Search
OR is a boolean value to indicate disjunction. In simple terms using OR operator in Google search with two keywords will return either one or both of the keywords in the results. For example. searching "DHTML OR Java" will return all pages with the keywords either DHTML or Java or both.
2.3. Find Meaning or Definition of a Word
Find the meaning or definition of any keyword using Google search using the following method:
For example "define: tech savvy" will show you the definition of the keyword tech savvy.
2.4. Mathematical Calculations using Google
Mathematical calculations can also be done directly using Google search box instead of using separate software. General syntax is as follows:
For example sqrt(10) will return the value for square root of 10.
You can also do mathematical calculations directly in the search box to get the results in the calculator. For example, searching 5+5*10-5 will show the result of 50 in a calculator.
2.5. Unit Conversion using Google
You can convert values from one unit to another unit directly on search box. The syntax is as follows:
unit1 in unit2
For example searching "kg in pound" will show the equivalent pounds for one kg. Here are few other possible conversions.
- km in mile
- inch in feet
- acre in square feet
- sec in ms
- kilobyte in byte
The results page will show you with the dropdown to select the conversion units. Try your own conversion and see how it works.
2.6. Search Based on File Type
Find keywords easily within any particular document types using "filetype" operator.
keyword filetype:document extension
Searching "Linux introduction filetype:ppt" will results only PowerPoint presentations including keywords "Linux introduction". In the same way, you can search for the docx, doc, xls, xlsx, pdf and other file types.
2.7. Find Weather of a City
Search "weather Los Angeles" to see the current weather in Los Angeles. Go-ahead and try this yourself for your local city and see how it works.
2.8. Google Translator
Translate any word from one language to other language using the syntax:
translate <Word> into <Language>
Learn more about using Translation Bar in Google Chrome.
2.9. Currency Conversion using Google
Convert any currency to other currency to check the online conversion rate, you can also enter the amount directly to see the equivalent.
Currency1 to Currency2
For example use "USD to SGD" to check the latest conversion rate from US Dollar to Singapore Dollar.
3. Using Site Search Operators in Google Search
Google search engine has lot of features for general and specific uses. One of such specific features is set of search operators for webmasters or site owners to get the details when needed. These search operators are just like prefixes used along with keywords.
3.1. Info: Search Operator
Info: search operator provides all relevant information of the searched URL. Searching “info:your-site.com” will provide the links to find the below information along with displaying the home page in the search result.
Info: search operator is a good way for webmasters to find all relevant information in a single place. For example, cached page link will show Google’s cached content with an option to view live version of the site. If you find the live version is not indexed for a long time use “Fetch as Google” option in Google Webmaster Tools to request Google to index your latest content.
3.2. Site: Search Operator
This is used to find all relevant URLs indexed in Google search engine database for the specified site or domain. When in doubt, webmasters can use site: operator to confirm whether Google indexed any pages of the site or not.
There are lots of way to use this site: search operator in practical scenarios. For example when you notice sudden drop in traffic for your keywords, use the below method to see your pages are still indexed or not.
The search query “webmasters site:webnots.com” will show results with the keyword “webmasters” from the site “webnots.com”.
Use the query “webmasters site:.com” if you want to see all relevant competing pages for the keyword “webmasters”. This is will help to understand the what are the competing sites and where exactly your site is positioned in the search results.
3.3. Link: Search Operator
Link: search operator is a tool to find the inbound links pointing to your site. For example searching “link:webnots.com” will display all web pages that link to webnots.com.
Most of the domains we checked did not return any results in Google search. It does not seem Google still allowing this way of checking links though you can use Google Webmaster Tools for this purpose.
3.4. Related: Search Operator
This will show all related pages matching the site in your search query. For example, the search query “related:cnn.com” will show all other news sites similar to CNN.
This is the best way to find competitors for a particular site.
3.5. Cache: Search Operator
You can find the cached page of a webpage by searching "cache:page URL". This will help to get the copy of the page even if it is not available online.