Internet Searching

Inside Search from Google

Challenge yourself with Google a Day

56 Google Search Tips from people who are serious about searching: writers

from Hack College

Google is getting more and more intelligent with each update, allowing us to find answers to basic questions without clicking through to another page. Hard-to-find information, on the other hand, still requires a bit of extra work. Let’s take a look at a few Google tricks to help you search smarter.

Related: Infographic – Get More Out of Google

Be Specific

  • To narrow down your search to a particular website, add “site:” before typing in the domain, followed by a space and your query. For example, the search “ Google” will turn up pages on HackCollege that contain the word Google.
  • You can also search a site’s subsections using this technique by adding a forward slash, followed by the pagename. For HackCollege, this could be “ productivity” if you wanted to find blog posts about productivity, or “ Life hacks” if you wanted to find videos we’ve posted about life hacks.
  • If you’re looking for a song you heard on the radio or simply need to find a page that uses a specific phrase, put quotation marks around your query. This will make sure only pages that use those exact words are displayed. (Extra tip: If you think a sentence or phrase you’ve written doesn’t sound right, search it using this method. If others have used it, you’re likely in the clear.)
  • Finding pages about your favorite authors can be done using the “author:” operator. For my successful author name-sharer, Mark Frost, this would be “author: Mark Frost” (be sure to add the space after the colon). To search Mark’s work in a specific genre, you can use “nonfiction author: mark frost.”
  • The “intitle” (ex. “intitle:life hacks“) operator displays pages with specific words or phrases in the title, which is great when you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for. (It can also be used for more nefarious purposes.)


  • Using the “filetype” operator, you can find all sorts of images and files in specific formats. Image formats, such as png, can be searched used by typing in your query followed by “filetype:png.”
  • You can also find files, such as word docs, pdfs, and Excel spreadsheets, using this method. It’s a great way to search for research papers and court documents.

Broadening Your Search

  • An asterisk (*) is a wildcard search operator that can help you fill in the blanks of a phrase or find a wider variety of results. For example, “Why money is *” turns up everything from “Why Money is Important” to “Why Money Is NOT The Key To Employee Happiness
  • Google recently killed off the tilde (~) or “squiggly” search operator.