Google Search for Bloggers: 23 Tips

Most of us use Google Search on a daily basis. I use it so frequently, it’s set as my home page. Today’s post shares 23 ways bloggers can use Google Search more effectively.

  1. Explicit Phrase — include your desired search terms in quotation marks. Example: “cold hard facts.”
  2. Exclude Words — place a minus sign “-” in front of any words you wish to have Google exclude from your search results. Example:  red white -blue
  3. Include Words — Google ignores certain words, such as conjunctions and articles. If you want to include a typically ignored word, simply place a plus sign in front of it. Example: peanut butter +and jelly
  4. Definitions — Need a quick definition? Put the word “define” with a colon in front of the word you want to define. Example: define: blogger
  5. Site Search — Most blogs and websites include a search function, but for those that don’t, you can still confine your search results to that site only using Google Search by typing “site:” followed by the site you wish to search. Example: “blogging tips” site:
  6. Synonyms — It’s easy to include synonyms within your search results. Add the tilde (~) symbol in front of the word for which you want synonyms included. Example: ~automobiles
  7. Specific Document Types — If you’re looking for a PowerPoint or PDF (Portable Document File) for a particular topic, tell Google by placing “filetype” followed by a colon after your search terms. Example: educational institutions filetype:ppt
  8. Either/Or Search — Add the word “OR” in your search. This type of search works well for related terms and singular/plural search situations. (Note: Both letters must be capitalized for this to work.) Example: Internet Marketing OR Advertising
  9. Numeric Ranges — This is a handy search tool if you’re researching a specific era. Simply include an ellipsis between the numeric range you wish to search. Example: 2000…2009
  10. Related Sites — If you’ve found a great website and you’re wondering if there are similar sites out there, add the word “related” with a colon before the site URL. You can also use this type of search to check out your competition. Example: related:
  11. Weather — This is handy for travel bloggers. Simply type weather and a city name into the search box at Google and you’ll get the weather report for that city. Example: weather Honolulu
  12. Time — You can also check the time using Google. This can save embarrassment if you’re blogging about another location and you’re not sure the time difference. Simply add the word “time” before the city name. Example: time Honolulu
  13. Spell Checker — Google has an automatic spell check included. I use it constantly when I’m unsure how to spell a particular word. You’ve probably seen the phrase “Did you mean . . . ?” Simply type in the word you need to spell check into the Google search box.
  14. Fill in the Blank — To search for something you can’t quite remember, do a “fill in the blank” search using Google. Add an asterisk after your search phrase. Example:  Thomas Edison invented*
  15. Google Scholar — Searches through indexed pages of scholarly literature.
  16. Google Maps — Easily conduct location searches using Google Maps. Simply type in the address you want to search for or pick directions. You can even create routes or plan trips.
  17. Google Videos — There is a wealth of online information available on video. Tutorials are very popular. Simply type your search terms into the Google Search box and click on the Video tab in the navigation bar. You can search for all sorts of information helpful to bloggers, such as how to set up a WordPress blog or how to use Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  18. Specify Domain Extension — If you want to limit your search to only government sites, educational sites, or whichever extension you choose, add “site: .edu” or “site: .gov” after your search terms in Google’s Search box.
  19. Advanced Search — You can limit the time frame of your search results (for instance, last 3 months) or choose a specific language and other options by choosing the Advanced Search option from the Google Search home page.
  20. News — Find out the latest news developments on a particular topic by selecting the News tab from Google Search’s navigation bar.
  21. Images — Most people are familiar with this feature, but if you’re looking for a specific image on your topic, click the Images tab in the navigation bar.
  22. Google Trends — Displays the top 10 “Hot Topics” and top 10 “Hot Searches,” allowing bloggers to see what people are currently searching for.
  23. Google Insights — Allows users to compare search patterns by selecting certain criteria, such as categories, seasonality, geographic distribution, and properties.

Would you believe I ran across this next cool Google Search tool about 5 minutes after clicking the Publish button? Here’s a short video by Darren Rowse explaining how bloggers can use Google Wonder Wheel to brainstorm blog posts.

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#1 Karen Cioffi on 03.18.10 at 5:47 pm

I love your site. You always provide such useful info!

#2 Are You My Audience? | On Blogging Well on 03.24.10 at 6:10 am

[…] Conduct a Google search. Instead of typing in one keyword, like “relationships,” try forming questions your audience might ask, such as, “How can I get the romance back in my marriage?”, etc. Who is asking these questions? Where are they asking them? (Hint: typing the question without quotes will get you more results to look through. Be creative in your Google searching. There are a variety of ways to use Google search. […]

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