Google Tips – Some of My Favorite Timesavers

Advice from DC The Computer Guy


With so much competition out there, finding accurate information quickly is critical to success in the small business world. At Clark Computer Services we provide Managed IT Services to over 400 small businesses and in doing so we often come across systems or issues that we haven’t seen before. That’s just part of this type of business, but it’s also the last thing a customer wants to hear.

In order to provide 5-star support we must excel at finding information very quickly.

Over the years, I’ve had to master the ability to dig deep into internet searches. Whether it was because I needed to access back-end tools on a computer that came with a new client, find a fix for a hardware or network issue, research software bugs, or any of a multitude of other problems, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself working into the wee hours of the night on a downed system. It was my ability to find information fast that allowed me to ensure that my client’s employees could work when they arrived in the morning.

Advanced Googling

Many times, I’ve helped clients to find information they need, whether IT related or not. The most common thing I’ve noticed is a reliance on the use of “keywords” in these internet searches. When using keywords or focus words to describe the search, the web browser runs those those terms against an indexed library of websites to match your search results to the proper websites – this is where they get the list of websites you see. Except that there are times when using keywords doesn’t provide the information you want.

That’s when Advanced Googling becomes important.

Google has lots of advanced techniques, but to keep this blog at a tolerable length, I’m reviewing only those I find most useful to enhance my keyword searches. Below are four examples – in each I provide the technique with the text in bold, and examples below.

Keywords: Definition. Words or phrases that describe the data a website contains and determines when and where it can appear in search records. When someone does a search on Google, it accesses an index of website data based on specific terms, which determines its results eligibility based on the similarity of set keywords to these terms, as well as general keyword matches.

Use Filetype: to narrow your search to files like Word documents or PDF’s

For example, handbook template filetype:pdf will return Adobe PDF files that contain the words “handbook” and “Template

I use this a lot to find manuals on systems I’ve never seen before or to look for examples of documents I need to write for clients.

Use the Negative sign (-) to remove keywords for your search

For example, falcon speed -bird removes the pages that contain the word “bird”

This quickly removes the “clutter” from your search results and you can use the negative sign on multiple words

Use Site: to search through a specific website

For example, Outlook Tips will search through only Microsoft’s website for the keywords “Outlook” and “Tips”.

You can also restrict to a domain type, for example, HIPAA guidance site:gov will search only government sites for the keywords “HIPAA” and “guidance”

Use Quotation Marks (” “) to make Google match a term exactly

For example “exact match” returns less pages than using the keywords “exact” and “match”

You can also use quotes on a single word to have Google match the word precisely

Try using these techniques the next time you are doing a search that isn’t returning the results you want.  You’ll find that one of these advanced Googling techniques will almost certainly do the trick!

Shhhh…it’s a Secret:  Google provides an advanced search page – to get to it type “advanced google search” into Google and click on the first link 😊