Search Engine Tips: Useful Search Operators You Must Know


Search Operators

Whether be it Google Search or Yahoo Search, different search engines have their way for users to define, precise and filter their search. You might know it, but you might not know all of it. You might not know it, but now you know it and can learn it. Let’s take a look at some search operators which I have found most useful.

Top 2 Search Engines
Image Source: Search Engine Land

1. Google Image Search

Do you know that you can drag an image from your computer and place them in Google Image Search to search for the same or similar image? The searches will even return images of different sizes if there are available. It might even identify what is in that image for you to identify some public figures and celebrities etc. Extremely useful feature if you are a graphic designer and constantly looking for higher resolution photos. Or if you would just like to check if an image had been plagiarized or posted somewhere in the world wide web.

2. Exclude Words from Search

This is SUPER easy to understand and perform. Would not even require a second explanation. To exclude common words from search results, just type in the symbol minus followed by the word (e.g. -gaming -wireless, if you are searching for house mouse in order to not receive search results of computer mouse). This function is a must use if you find yourself getting search results of two or more similar elements but which carried different content or meaning. 

3. Currency Conversion

This is one function for the frequent travelers or foreign currency traders (known as forex). The word to key in is ‘In’ or ‘To’. For example, if you wish to know how much 100 Singapore Dollars is worth now in United States Dollars, type in search bar, ‘100 SGD to USD’. Similarly, you could substitute ‘to’ for ‘in’ and you still get the same results. Thing to note, you have to know the currency code before doing so. It is not difficult to find out and you can always select from the list if you are performing this using Google Search. Also, do not take the rates shown in the search results as actual exchange rates as rates differ accordingly to the exchange platform such as banks and brokerage etc. but, you get a good impression! This now works for cryptocurrencies as well!

4. Unit Conversion

This is one similar function to the Currency Conversion but applies to Units. You use either ‘In’ or ‘to’ in between two units. The units that could work have to be in the same measurement such as cm to inch, Kg to pounds, Sqm to Sqft etc. Again, in order to perform this search quickly, you need to know the unit code.

5. Filetype

Yes, besides searching for information, you can search to obtain a particular filetype – and just that filetype that you want exactly. The function here to use is ‘filetype:<extension>’. For instance, to search for a PDF file, you will key in ‘filename:pdf’. Capitalisation or not makes no difference. The trick here; familiarize yourself with the short form of file extensions. Common file extensions you may wish to know for your work are DOC, GIF, JPG, PDF, PNG and PPT. Unfortunately, you will not get any search results with filetype:MP3 and MP4! We know what you are thinking 😊.

6. Exact Word or Phrase

This function is very useful although not common for many to use due to the additional effort to key in “ “ in between the search keywords or phrases. Exceptionally useful if you need to search for content involving an exact phrase and you strictly wants that phrase in the search results. Know this, that even though search engines are smart, and probably powered by AI’s machine learning capabilities now, they do still require human effort to enhance their capabilities and make them work better for us. So again, if we want a certain outcome, we must first know how to do it and get there. Use “ “ next time to enhance your search.

7. Now in

So, what do you wish to know happening in any parts of the world? Time now? Weather now? Well, both works in most search engines. To know time, use ‘time now in <city>’. To know weather, use ‘weather now in <city>’.  You will return accurate results for time, but for weather, it largely depends since weather can highly fluctuate to measurement tools and the uncontrollable weather itself. Next time you are planning your year-end trip, you now have two solutions in one place. How convenient!

8. Ticker Symbol

I wanted to end this post with seven pointers, but felt that this might just come in handy since so many people invest in stocks anyway. All you need is key in the ticket symbol (e.g. NASDAQ: AAPL, NYSE: KO) and you could return a solid search result mostly in the form of a interactable chart of the share price. You could also get useful quick information such as current opening and closing price, P/E ratio, Div yield etc. So the next time, you could do a quick check here and there in between work without logging into your secure trading platform. Do note to read the disclaimers as well to know if the information is updated real-time or on interval basis.

Final Comments

That said, you know where to go to find more useful search operators. In particular, I found this Site useful.

If you are a everyday Search Engine User, I recommend you to read next on VPN for your internet safety and Cloud Storage for all your storage needs!


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