Improve Your Internet Search Results

Print out this page as a handy reference for remembering useful internet short-cuts.

Internet Search Engine Comparison: Google is the best, and by far the most popular, of all internet search engines. However, many of you who are relatively new to the internet are probably using a different search engine provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T. When you first connect to the internet, the first page you see is from your ISP. They include a search box that is usually powered by Yahoo. Although Yahoo provides several excellent services such as a personalized home page and RSS Feed Reader, it's search engine does not produce the quality of results that are provided by Google.

Getting Easy Access to Internet Search Engines: If your home page (the first page you see when starting your internet connection) is currently provided by your ISP, you might think it is a hassle to open Google's Search Page when you can perform a search on your ISP's home page. To eliminate that hassle, you can learn how to set Google as your home page, or you can learn how to download the Google Toolbar that will be added to your current home page.

We will focus the rest of this article on how to search the internet with Google. If you have not used Google, you will see an image of their home page below. Click on it to open the Google Home Page in a new screen and try some of the examples we will present in this article. Many of the tips we provide will also work with and Live Search from Microsoft.

Improve Your Google Search Results

Image of Google's Home Page

Basic Features

Google can find you billions of web pages. If you don't believe me, type the word shopping into the Google Search Box and click 'Google Search'. You will see near the upper right corner of the first page of results that there are at least 1.6 billion pages on the internet with the word shopping.

You obviously don't have the time or energy to look through billions of web pages. Google's computers attempt to help you find the most relevant search results and place them at the top of your results. Some of the results will help you find what you are looking for while others will be well off the mark. The goal in this lesson is to learn how to reduce the number of bad results and improve the chances that what you are looking for can be found on the first page. In my example, I will help you find information and directions to Giants Stadium near New York City. You can apply the same tips for any other search you perform.

Be Specific: Do your best to use several search terms that describe the type of web page you want to find. If I type the word Stadium, I end up with nearly 79 million results. The first page of results includes stadiums all over the country, none of which are Giants Stadium. I could continue to page 2, 3, 4 and so on until I find Giants Stadium. However, that would be a waste of time. Instead of performing a search on Stadium, try Giants Stadium. Now I've narrowed down my results to one million possibilities, with most of the first page results providing information on Giants Stadium. Your searches can include several words. They do not have to form complete sentences. You just need to include any terms that are relevant to what you want to find in your search results.

Use Quotes: In our previous example, I noted most, but not all, of the results included information on Giants Stadium. The reason for this is there are web pages that include both of the words Giants and Stadium. For example, a web site about California baseball teams includes the words San Francisco Giants and Dodger Stadium. If you use double quotes around your search words such as "Giants Stadium", your results will only include web pages that include the two words as one phrase. Using quotes is very helpful when searching for such things as books, movies, companies, famous quotes, and people's names. Google will make sure to look for a specific set of words in a specific order when you use quotes.

Select Special Google Categories: If you look in the upper left side of the Google Search Page or any of its results pages, you will see several terms including Images, Maps, and News. If you click on 'more', you will see additional categories including Scholarly Articles, Books, and Videos. If you want your results to only include web pages within one of these categories, just click on the category name. In our example, once you have typed "Giants Stadium" into the search box, click on Map. A map of the area around Giants Stadium will open up. You now have several more options such as finding directions from your home, finding business such as restaurants near the Stadium, and even checking the traffic conditions. Click on News and Google will give you the latest news on Giants Stadium. Select Scholar and Google will provide research papers, such as facilities financing, that have included Giants Stadium.

Definitions: If you want a definition, just enter define: in the search box before the term, phrase, or location that you want to define. For example, a search on define: Giants Stadium will explain it is often referred to as The Meadowlands and is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets.

Conversion of Currency, Metrics, and other Measurements: Let's say you are following a recipe to cook dinner and the directions say to use five tablespoons. You don't have a tablespoon but you do have a measuring cup. Type 5 tablespoons in cups into the search box and select 'Google Search'. Google will give you the answer. The same goes for 40,000 acres in square miles, 100 dollars in euros and whatever else you would like to convert.

Find Places in Your Local Area: Are you new to the local area or do you want to find if something exists in your local community? Just type what you are looking for as well as the name of the town or a zip code in the search box. For example a search for Pizza Beverly Hills will give you a listing of pizza places in Beverly Hills along with their phone number, web site address, a map of their location, and reviews. You can do the same for churches, plumbers, and whatever else you may want to find in your community.

Tracking Numbers for Packages: If you have a tracking number from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service, there is no need to pull up their respective web site. Just enter your tracking number in the Google Search Box, and you will receive the las test information.

Find Movie Information: Do you have a favorite actor or director and want to find a list of movies where they have been involved? Do you want to find a list of movies on a particular topic or theme? How about a list of movie times near your home? For all of these requests, just use movie: before your search terms. For example a search for movie: Harrison Ford provides a list of movies with Harrison Ford or a search for movie: 60602 provides a listing of local movie times if you live in the Chicago zip code area of 60602.

Get the Weather Forecast: Get the weather forecast for any town by entering weather before the name of the town or zip code. For example, weather Richmond provides you the current conditions and forecast for the next three day in Richmond, Virginia. If you live in a smaller town with a popular name, you will need to add the state like this: weather Richmond, CA.

Search Only One Web Site: Do you know an article exists at a web site but you just can't seem to find it. You have even used the search box provided by the web site but the search results still come up empty. Use Google to search that web site. You will typically find the Google Search of the web site will do a better job than the web site's own search box. To do this, enter your search term followed by For example, you remember that the USA Today newspaper wrote a feature article about your little town in 2007 when it endured the blizzard of the century with over 100 inches of snow in seven days. Just enter the name of your town followed by the newspaper's main web site address like this "Mexico, NY" If you remember our earlier tip on using quotes, you will see I used quotes around Mexico, NY to avoid getting results that include the words Mexico and NY, but have nothing to do with the town of Mexico, NY. Also note there is no space after site:. This was done on purpose. If you place a space after site: , your results will include other web sites that refer to the Mexico, NY articles in USA Today rather than just articles from the USA Today.

White Pages: If a person is listed in the white pages, you can find their address or phone number as long as you know their area code or zip code. For example, search for your name with the area code or zip code John Doe 212 and Google will give you the full white pages listing. (Surprisingly, there are three John Does in New York City.)

There's More! I've only touched upon what I think are the more popular features that you may find useful. To see a full list, visit the Google Search Help page for more tips. You can also learn more by reading our article on Advanced Google Search features.

Help Others & Good Luck

Our goal is to make you comfortable using the ever expanding internet. We especially want to reach out to online beginners and let them know it is not too late to get started. As more services, especially free ones, move online, we believe it is important that everyone learn the basics for navigating the internet. Think of a family member or friend who may find this web site helpful and forward it to them today. We wish you Good Luck and an Enjoyable Journey on the Internet. also provides easy access to trusted retailers. We keep things simple for you by only listing stores with a long history of name recognition. We would like to be your one stop source for online shopping with stores like Macy's, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. Thank You and Best Wishes.

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