Master Google Search

How would you like have unlimited knowledge of everything that has ever been documented in the history of human existence? That would be pretty cool wouldn’t it? That could make you a pretty valuable asset I suspect.

Well I am writing this article today to inform you of the untapped potential that is at your fingertips. The power to find the answer to any question you are looking for. To learn about any topic that has ever been taught. It’s all out there. We know this. It is in the billions of webpages that live on the web.

Wait, how do I even know that there are a billion+ webpages out there? Because Ifound that information from a credible source online that curates such information. See the below for the actual graph:

This was relatively easy to find using Google. However, some things are not as easy to find.

How about we spice it up and let’s say you want to search for every website that cites a BuzzFeed article on their website. To do this, use the ‘link:‘ command, immediately followed by the name of a page. Google will give you all pages that link to BuzzFeed’s official website. The more specific the URL is, the fewer, more pointed results you’ll get.

Example Search: link:buzzfeed

Many people are familiar with the “Advanced Options” that Google gives you under “Search Tools” that will allow you to add a few more predicates to search. This is okay for novice Google users. But you aren’t a novice. You want the power to find anything.

Being a developer by trade, I need to be able to learn a lot, from credible sources, very quickly. Simple Google searches don’t always supply me with the exact content I am looking for. Google is getting better at guessing what I want (and they are far ahead of the competition IMO) using what is known as “structured data” (very cool stuff BTW that you should check out when you have some free time as this article will not go into describing it. It’s basically just metadata (data about data) but curated and maintained in a way that is very searchable)

By leveraging structured data you can actually tell Google more about what you want and what you don’t want and where you want it from (and so, so, so much more.)

Here are a few more quick examples:

Location: If you’re looking for news related to a specific location, you can use the location: command to search Google News for stories coming from that location.

Search Example: star wars location:london

Range: This is a rarely used but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods). This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

Example Search: president 1940..1950

Compare: Believe it or not, if you’re ever curious how two types of (fairly generic) foods compare with one another, you can do a quick Google search to see how they differ in calories, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, and other nutrients.

Search Example: pizza vs broccoli

Similar Terms: Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but also want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the ~ in front of the word.

Example Search: “inbound marketing” ~professional

Search Within Site: Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the modifier.


Example Search: allinurl:hubspot blog

This last one is really powerful, so I am going to go a little more in depth with it.

There are a bunch of use cases for this little search efficiency trick, but here are the ones I use all the time when I’m wearing my marketer hat.

Search for data. I like to use data to strengthen my content, and it’s really easy to do a site:search on the HubSpot blog for a stat I remember using in the past — but can’t totally remember where. It also helps me find data on another blog or website that I know frequently publishes that type of content, like eMarketer, for instance.
Search for topics. If you’re looking to create an original piece of content on your site or another site, it helps to pitch something original that hasn’t been covered a million times over already. So if I wanted to publish a guest post on, say, Connection Model, and I wanted to write about email marketing, I could do a site:search email marketing to check out what they’ve already covered on the topic, so my post can be original yet still aligned with their content strategy.
Surface content to link to. If you want to link to a piece of content about a specific subject matter within your own content, the site:search is a great way to resurface it … or even find some new pieces of content you didn’t know existed.
Conduct competitive analysis. Part of a competitive content analysis — which is critical for defining your content strategy and positioning yourself appropriately in your space — is to determine what other people are writing about. Use the site:search function to get an idea of what subjects each of your competitors are writing about, and at what volume.

As you can see, there is a ton of power in understanding what I call GQL (Google Query Language). It always surprises me that most people don’t know how to use the most popular website in the world. Armed with the knowledge of Google Query Language, you can become a master of the vast amount of knowledge on the internet.

These were just a few examples and below is a grid of all the most useful GQL functions and behaviors:


And don’t forget all of these –>

Learn them, master them, and enjoy becoming that “know-it-all” friend :)


Original post: