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Search Engine Hacks

Posted by cfeehan on June 5, 2015

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Hand clicking on search bar

If you’re like me, you’re no stranger to search engines. Whenever I have a question of any kind, I pull up Google, type my question into the search bar, and hit enter. Within seconds, I’m more knowledgeable than I was a minute earlier, and I’m not stuck wondering for the rest of the day.

This article includes a list of popular search engines, the basics of Google, and a few helpful search engine hacks that will help you to get the most accurate results possible when browsing online!

Search Engines

Some of the most popular search engines include:

Google Basics:

This is the Google search bar. Check it out – there are over sixteen million results for the term “baby panda” alone!SearchBar.JPG

Web – This is the default setting on Google. If you’re looking for webpages on the term you’ve entered, this is the tab for you

Images – If you want to see pictures of the term you’ve entered, click this tab to the right of “Web”

Videos – Same as above, but for videos

News – Clicking this tab under the search bar will give you recent news stories about the term you’ve entered into the search bar

Maps – This tab is best when you’re looking for a city, country, specific address, or even a restaurant or other business. By clicking this tab, you can also find directions, see a street view of the location, and search for restaurants, bars and businesses close to the searched location.

Search Engine Tips and Tricks:

Using Key Words

When searching a term in a search engine, you can be as vague or as specific as you want. Let’s say that it’s the Canada Day long weekend and you and your family are looking for something to do. You could search “Canada Day weekend”, and you would get a lot of results – but chances are, a lot of these results wouldn’t interest you. Instead, you could try using more key words. For example:

  • Kids
  • Family
  • Woodstock
  • London
  • Fireworks
  • Barbeque

The list really is endless, depending on what you want to do. If you search “Canada Day activities in London for kids”, you’re much more likely to get the results that you’re looking for.

Searching Exact Terms

If you want to search more than one word in a row as a whole phrase rather than separate words, surround the phrase with quotation marks. For example, if you want to search “Italian lasagna recipes” rather than “Italian”, “lasagna” and “recipes” separately, type the term into the search engine with quotation marks (“”) around it to ensure that you get the most accurate result.

Excluding Certain Pages

If you want to exclude certain terms and pages from your search, you can type the minus sign into the search box before the word you want to omit. So, let’s say that you want to go on a vacation, but you’re positive that you don’t want to go to Australia. You could type in “best travel destinations -Australia” to make sure that all of the results will be pages showing you travel destinations that you’re interested in, and not pages of results telling you that you should travel to Australia when you already know you’re not interested.

Looking for Results on One Specific Website

If you want to search for content on one specific website quickly and effortlessly on Google, type in “site:____ (key word)”. For example, if you’d like to search news articles about cyberbullying on the New York Times website alone, you would type in ‘site: New York Times cyberbullying’ and only the articles published on the New York Times website about cyberbullying would show up. This way, you can find exactly what you want on the precise website you want it from.

Always remember to use discretion when searching online, however. Not everything you read is truthful, and not every website you end up on is going to be secure. Be aware of your surroundings online and you’ll have a safe and informative browsing experience!

If you’re looking for a few kid-friendly search engines, check out our blog post about how to keep your kids safe online

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.