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Teach Students to Search Like a Boss With These 5 Easy Google Advanced Search Tips

by Kelly Walsh on February 22, 2016

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5 Simple Techniques That can Make Anyone a Google Search Rock Star

Google Search is such a useful tool in our day to day lives, we totally take it for granted. But even the most tech-savvy searchers are often not aware of simple techniques that can make this powerhouse app even more useful, and help them find precisely what they’re looking for faster.

Knowing how to efficiently find information on the Web is a vital element of today’s digital literacy requirements for our students, and for us as educators and professionals. Once I got these techniques burned in my brain, I use them regularly, and love letting others know about them!

Save time and be a search hero with these easy to use advanced search techniques.

Required Specific Words or Phrases to be part of your Search Results

Just put the required words in quotes. As an example, if you include “education” in search, the result need to include the word “education”.

In this example, we searched for free education technology resources, and required that the word “free” be included in search results:

Advanced-Search-required-words-phrases

Site-Specific Search

Include “site:xxx.xxx” in your search (you don’t need the quotes, that’s just for emphasis). For example, if your search includes site:gov.edu, you’ll get search results that are only from the gov.edu site. This can be helpful when looking for regulatory docs from the DoE, for example.

We can combine the previous tip with this one to easily create a search for all content on EmergingEdTech.com that has the word “free” in it, with this search criteria: “free” site:emergingedtech.com.

Search for Specific File Types

Remember that great white paper you found last month that was in PDF format? The one you didn’t download and wish you could find again. Time to try and search it out again! How about being able to limit your search results to just PDF files?

Want to search out just JPG or GIF files? You can!

To limit search results to return just specific file types, include “file:xxx” (with ‘xxx’ being the file type) in your search. For example: file:pdf will return just PDF files in your search results.

In this search example, we are looking for white papers about virtual labs, and requiring that the results be in PDF format:

Advanced-Search-file-types

Image Search

Did you know that you can search using an image? How cool is that? Want to know if someone used an image somewhere on the Internet? Search for it. Want to find images that are visually similar to another image? You can!

To search using an image as your search criteria, just access the image.google.com, and click the camera icon to the right of the search bar. Learn all about it in this article I wrote a few years back: How Cool is Google Image Search? You Can Even Use a Picture as a Search Parameter!

Use the Advanced Search tool to Leverage Lots of Other Advanced Criteria!

Last, but most assuredly not least, there’s the full advanced search screen from Google, available here: https://www.google.com/advanced_search.

A snap of the screen is shown below. You will notice that you can use the techniques explained above here, and also access lots of other advanced criteria, like Language, Region, “none of these words”, and more. The other great thing on this screen is the tips about how to use each advanced directly with the regular Google search box.

Advanced-Search-screen

 

Please be sure to share these great techniques with your students and colleagues, so we can all enjoy more productive searching!

 

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded EmergingEdTech.com. As an education and instructional technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, regularly running Flipped Class Workshops online. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Kelly also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by kwalshmusic.com and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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