10 Foolproof Tips for Improving Your Google Search Results

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Maybe you're already known as a Google search whiz...the person everyone goes to when they're having trouble finding the best results for a specific loveseat couch with a name nobody can quite recollect ("I saw it at IKEA this weekend...it was blue"), or when a song lyric needs to be matched to a title and artist. Expert Google search skills might seem nearly magical to many, but in reality is accessible and as easy to learn as basic keyboard shortcuts. Here are 10 everyone can use to improve any online search...

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    1. Use Advanced Image Search:
  • When: Google's Advanced Image Search is great for when you've got an image (e.g. from Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or even one of our House Tours) and you want to find an exact or close match in size, color or type of photo/drawing by description. Similarly, from the Images search option, "Search tools" offers additional filtering parameters (shown above).
  • How: filter your search to include only photos with faces, clip art, high-res images or listed, by image size/dimensions, site domain, by overall color type, or ordered by a specified upload date.
    2. Search By File Type:
  • When: searching for a specific PDF or XLS document online. Try using
  • How: QUERYNAMEHERE filetype:____.
  • Example: 2013 Form W-4 filetype:pd
    3. Start Short, Then Get Descriptive:
  • When: one or two word search terms will usually give you the broadest results, so begin there and add additional search phrases to hone in on results.
  • Example: an initial search starts off with a broad "modern chairs" query, which brings back 32,500,000 search results. Adding "modern Eames chairs" reduces results down to 5,990,000 search listings, while "modern Eames lounge chairs" further reduces it down to 867,000 results. Hone results by adding specifics like color, location, and price.
    4. Use Quotation Marks for Exact Results:
  • When: when searching for a specific product, person, or service, use search terms with quotations for best results.
  • How: surrounding any search term with quotation marks – "[any word]" – will limit results to specifically only include those words. Keep in mind using quotation search might exclude relevant results if there are any name variations.
  • Example: Searching for Alfonso Cuarón vs "Alfonso Cuarón" changes the total results from 14 million down to 2,120,000.
    5. Using Dashes to Exclude Specific Results:
  • When: when you want to exclude certain items from your results.
  • How: "QUERYNAMEHERE -EXCLUDEDTERM"
  • Example: Affordable Couches -IKEA would bring back results for sites listing affordable couches, but excludes anything from IKEA.
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    6. Word Definitions:
  • When: for exact word definitions.
  • How: Put define: in front of any word to get its definition.
  • Example: define: wainscot




    8. Searching For Related Content:
  • When: when searching for websites with related or similar content.
  • How: use "related:[insert URL]"
  • Example: try related:apartmenttherapy.com

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    9. Search For Shopping Specific Results
  • When: searching for sites/sources that sell a specific item with reviews, prices, and styles.
  • How: Choose from "Shopping" at top of Google search results, after "Web", "Images" and "Maps".
  • Example: See standing desk results


    10. Specify a Date or Price Range Search Using Two Periods:
  • When: searching with a specific price or date parameter.
  • How: Use .. between any two price or date figures
  • Example: iPhone 5s case $10.00..$15.00

(Images: Top: Alexis Buryck / Jon's Calm and Considered Nest House Tour, Below: Gregory Han)

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