Updated: Jul 30
Google is the world's most popular search engine. Despite the fact that it is widely used, few people receive formal training on how to use Google. Here are some Google search tips.
1. Go to google
To search Google, you must first visit Google. But did you know there are several ways to get to the site? Isn't it true that there are numerous Google websites? Yes, there are!
You can get to Google.com directly by typing http://google.com into your web browser. This will take you to the main Google website, which is intended to serve both the United States and the rest of the world.
If you are not in the United States, you may prefer to use the Google version designed for your country. On this page, you'll find a list of Google's country-specific versions.
Google also provides a number of "vertical" search engines, which are versions of Google that allow you to search only for specific types of content, such as images, videos, or news stories. If you're looking for specific content like this, it might be better to start your search with one of these subject-specific versions of Google. You can find a list of them under the "search" tab.
2. Go to via toolbar
Entering a search into the search box built into most popular browsers is a faster way to use Google. Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari, and Mozilla's Firefox all have little boxes in the top right corners where you can type your search term, hit return, and the results will appear in your browser.
Google Toolbar is also available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. The toolbar allows you to search Google directly from your browser, get "cached" copies of pages, share pages, and many other useful features. You can find out more about the toolbar and download it from Google here.
You enter your search into the same box where you enter web addresses when using Google's Chrome browser. This is explained in greater detail in the following article.
3. Enter your search terms
Actually, searching Google is quite simple. Simply type what you're looking for into the Google website's search box or your toolbar!
If you're using a toolbar, you may notice that words begin to appear below the toolbar's search box as you type. These are suggestions that Google believes may be relevant to your search. This is referred to as "Google Suggest" or "Autocomplete" by Google. You can ignore the suggestions, but if one appears useful, select it to save yourself some typing.
On Google, you'll not only get suggestions, but actual search results will begin to load as you type:
4. Review your search results
You'll get a page full of results after you search. Some of these will be matching pages from other websites. Some of these will be matching content from the aforementioned subject-specific versions of Google. As shown below, you may receive news or image results mixed in.
Advertisements may also appear above or to the right of the main search results. The top search results are not sold, and according to Google, they are not influenced by advertising. Google separates the ads from the results and labels them with the word "Ad" or "Ads," as indicated by the arrows in the example above.
That is a summary of the types of results you will see after conducting a search. Google also keeps a detailed guide to everything on the search results page.
5. Preview your answer
As you review the results, you may wonder if some of the listed sites are the best answer to your search. Google provides a quick way to check on this. It's known as Google Instant Previews.
A magnifying glass symbol will appear next to the web page listings.
6. Refine your google search
When you enter a search, Google doesn't know exactly what you're looking for, so the results you get are its best guess. There are some things you can do to help it make better guesses. For starters, Google offers a variety of ways to refine and narrow down your searches.
You can get only video answers, limit results by date, explore answers by browsing through a "Wonder Wheel" of suggestions, or simply review some of the related searches it may list among your results, such as the following examples from a search for DVD players.
See our article below for a comprehensive guide to the many options Google provides for refining your results:
Meet Google's New Look and Its Colorful, Useful "Search Options" Column
When entering your search terms, you can also use special commands. For instance, if you put quotation marks around search terms like this:
"how to do a Google search"
Then your results will only show pages that have those exact words on them, in that exact order — or are otherwise relevant to those exact words.
You can find a guide to all of these special commands on Google.
7. Congratulate yourself
Congratulations if you found this page through a Google search! You obviously know how to use Google! However, hopefully, this page has provided you with some additional information that you will find useful in future searches.
Google also has a number of help documents on how to search Google, which can be found here.
Also, be sure to check out our Google overview guide, which leads to more information about specific Google services:
Google's Search Engine Land Guide