9 Best Google Search Hacks for Better Results

These are the best search tweaks to remember

using google on a tablet

M-SUR / Shutterstock

Google is the most popular search engine on the web, but most people don't realize how much more powerful they can make their Google searches with just a few simple tweaks.

Sure, there are several advanced search commands you can use on Google, but most of them aren't helpful for everyday searches. Below are several of the best search tricks that you can use on a daily basis to get better search results out of Google.

Be sure to couple these Google search hacks with these general web search tips.

Google Phrase Search

Google Search with quotes for Never Stop lyrics

If you want Google to return your search as a complete phrase, in the exact order and proximity that you typed it in as then you need to surround it with quotes.

"three blind mice"

In this example, had we not used quotes, Google would look for three, blind, and mice regardless of where the other two words are located in the results. As it stands now, the quotes force every page returned by Google to show all the words next to each other just like you see them above.

Quotes are helpful only if you want every word to appear as you place them in the search box, so they're useful when looking up people, lyrics, quotes, locations, etc.

Google Negative Search

Google Search apple pie recipes with minus symbols

A negative search on Google is an easy way to exclude things from the results. All you have to do is put a minus symbol before whatever it is that you want to not see.

apple -jobs -cook -iphone -ipad

You can see above that we're looking for results about apple, but since Apple is also a company name, we want to make sure there aren't any results that talk about those products, Steve Jobs, or Tim Cook. In our example, the minus symbol helped shave off 2 billion results.

Using the minus symbol is just one way you can utilize Boolean search techniques to hack Google.

Google Site Search

Google site search resume samples

A Google site search means that you're limiting the results to a specific website or top-level domain.

site:lifewire.com free movie downloads

A search for free movie downloads across all of the web might be extremely overwhelming, so running the search on a single site like Lifewire.com, forces all the results to include only the pages found on this website.

This is obviously only helpful if you're wanting to look for something on a specific website, but it's extremely helpful for doing just that. You can even use Google's advanced search options to narrow down the results even further.

Of course, you can include the other search tricks from above for more specific results, like this:

site:lifewire.com "movie downloads" horror

Google Definitions

Google search for define zeitgeist

This Google Search hack is probably something you've used but never realized it's actually a purposeful function. Just put the word define in front of any word to have Google give you the definition.

define zeitgeist

You can usually get by with just putting the word into Google without anything else in the box because most single-word searches are for finding the definition. However, if you don't see the Google dictionary result at the top, use the word define to force it to show up.

Google Order of Search

Google search for when 6G will come out

The order in which you type your search query has an effect on the results. If you're having trouble locating something, try rearranging how you're entering the words.

For example, entering waffle recipe rather than recipe waffle shows several million fewer results. The image above is a clear example of this as well, where a total restructuring of the words results in an entirely different top result.

It's generally considered acceptable to type into Google the way you'd say something aloud. Another way to think about how to search is to think about how the content was written.

Google Number Range Search

Google number range search for iPhone sales

If your search includes numbers, and there's room for some flexibility, you can use periods to tell Google that it can find results between those values, too, and not just the values you entered.

iPhone sale $100..$300

This number range trick works with everything from money to dates and weight, just be sure to use only two periods and no space before or after them.

Google Calculator

Google Calculator gallons to quarts

A Google search trick to help with math? Why not! Google includes a built-in calculator that you can use for a variety of calculations, from simple math to unit conversions.

Here's an example where Google can quickly tell us that around 8 kilometers is equal to 5 miles:

5 miles to kilometers

We learn with this one that 32 tablespoons is the same as half of one quart:

half a quart in tablespoons

This one returns the answer 94.4033897696.

sqrt(8912)

Temperature conversions are supported, too:

80 c to f

If it's a complex problem with operators that you don't know the shorthand for or that aren't on your keyboard, type calculator for the full tool. It comes with buttons like Rad, Inv, e, pi, EXP, cos, sin, tan, log, and others.

Google Spell Checker

Google Search spell checker

Some of us struggle to spell words without a spell check, and since we don’t always work within tools that offer an automatic spelling helper, it’s nice to have a built-in spell checker on Google.

To have Google help you with spelling something, type the word the way you think it's spelled (your best guess is fine), and Google will return with "Did you mean: <xyz>?"

Another way to use this tip is to type but don't press Enter...

Google spelling checker example

Let the suggestions pop up as you type to see how Google thinks it should be spelled. You'd be surprised how well it works.

If you have a microphone plugged in, you can also use your voice to search Google. If you're clear enough, this is another way to see how to spell things.

'I'm Feeling Lucky' Button

I'm Feeling Lucky button on Google Search

The Google home page includes two buttons: Google Search and I'm Feeling Lucky. What the first button does is clear, but the second might not be.

I'm Feeling Lucky is a quick way to skip the Google Search results and jump right to the first one from the list, without ever having to select it. For example, typing lifewire into Google and then hitting the button will open Lifewire.com because that's the first result on Google.

Use this Google Search hack enough and you'll save loads of time.