Back in the early days of the internet, Google was simply a tool to bring back a list of pages with keywords which match your search criteria.
This is fundamentally what still happens, however the internet has grown a bit since then. Back in 2000, there were around 17 million websites on the internet. Now there are nearly a billion. Cataloging and indexing all of these billions of pages of content has become increasingly more difficult.
Considering all of those extra pages of content, it is becoming increasingly more important that you enter the best possible search criteria into Google to find the results which most closely match what you are looking for. Fortunately for us, Google provide a few handy advanced search operators which we can use.
Find pages containing quotes
Quotes are some of the most used tools in the Google Search arsenal. By wrapping words within your criteria in quotes, Google will only return results containing that quote. You can even mix quotes with individual words for maximum effect.
william shakespeare “to be or not to be is the question”
Exclude words from results
You can exclude any pages from your search results which contain a word by using the -exclude operator.
sea fish -mackerel
Search a specific site
Sometimes, you might find yourself wanting to search a website but their own search tool isn’t up to scratch. Never fear! You can use Google to search only that specific website instead.
site:www.reddit.com family guy
See a page which was recently removed/changed
If you ever find a web page has gone down, or perhaps it has been blocked or changed, you can often use Google’s cache to view the page (or rather, a cached copy of the page). Google’s search results have a little ‘Cached’ link next to each result. Alternatively, try the following seach:
These aren’t the only advanced search operators Google offers. There are quite a few. Check out the others on Google’s support pages.