There is certainly no need for a lengthy introduction to this post. We all know that Google has some extremely useful shortcuts and advanced search operators. If used properly while conducting a search, they can save precious time and bring us directly to the information we seek. I think of it as searching smarter.
Below you will find a list of the top five Google shortcuts and search operators that I feel save me the most time on a regular basis. I list out each operator or shortcut, its purpose, and examples of its use. The list is in reverse order, saving the best for last.
5. define: – Provides short definitions for words, acronyms, or common phrases. Google aggregates this info from other websites and links the definitions to their original source. This operator can be extremely handy when you need the rough meaning of a word in an instant.
- define:rss – get the definition of the acronym RSS
- define:aspiration – get the definition of aspiration
4. address, city, state – A quick and dirty shortcut for mapping out a physical address using Google Maps. Once the address is mapped out, Google Maps provides you with “to” and “from” shortcuts that can be used to create driving directions. With all my recent business travel, this shortcut has saved hours of my life that would have otherwise been spent on MapQuest… which makes MapQuest obsolete.
- 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, 94043 – Shortcut map of Google’s headquarters.
- 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, 94089 – Shortcut map of Yahoo’s headquarters.
3. site: – Used for concentrating a Google search on a single website or domain name. There are so many websites out there with flawed search functionality or no search capability at all. This operator is the solution for saving time when you need to find a certain piece of information on an unorganized website.
- site:problogger.net make money – Search for articles containing “make money” on ProBlogger.
- site:lifehacker.com google music search – Search for articles about “google music search” on Lifehacker.
2. filetype: – Filters a search result so that it only includes documents of a specific file format. Say you are conducting research online and need to find whitepapers that are typically stored in PDF format, this simple Google operator is the answer… a true time saver for online research.
- filetype:pdf blogging – Search for PDFs on blogging.
- filetype:doc search engine optimization – Search for word processing documents on search engine optimization.
1. allinanchor: – Conducts a search based on keywords used strictly in the anchor text, or linking text, of third party sites that link to the web pages returned by the Google search. In other words, this operator filters your search results in a way such that Google ignores the actual textual content of the web pages, but instead bases the search result relevance on the keywords other sites use to reference it. This search operator can help you save large quantities of time when a normal textual based search query does not fetch the information you desire. Sometimes you can get a better idea of the content located within a website by reading how the mass refers to that site’s content.
- allinanchor:google hacks – Search for websites that other pages link to concerning the topic of Google hacks.
- allinanchor:wordpress exploits – Search for websites that other pages link to concerning the topic of WordPress exploits.
There are several other useful Google shortcuts and advanced search operators not mentioned here, but these five are the true time savers I can’t live without. PS: I’ve submitted this Top 5 list to the ProBlogger Top 5 Writing Project.