How To Fine Tune Your Google Search and Avoid Ads

By | March 12, 2013

There are many ways to fine tune your Google search so that you find the information you are looking for in the top results and avoid all of the meaningless advertisements.

Keywords: With Google, it is most important to understand the keywords that are going to zone in on the information you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for information about George Washington, the President, in is important to put the keyword President in the search. This will avoid all hits related to Washington State, Washington D.C. etc. If you are looking for biographical information then use the keyword biography or bio (Google will usually find equivalent forms of the word. Be as precise and exact as possible in defining all of the search words.

Operators: You can further refine your query by using Google Search Operators.   For example, in order to find and exact phrase, e.g. “To be or not to be”, put the full phrase in quotations. An * can be used anywhere in the phrase as a placeholder for any word. So if you are not sure of the exact word in a phrase just use an * in its place.

To exclude or include words you can put a - or + sign before the words. For example, I am looking for John Adams but not John Quincy Adams, so I put -Quincy in my query.

You can use the site: operator to limit the search to a particular domain, e.g.

You can also use standard AND and OR operators (the default being AND) remembering to capitalize these operators. If you wish to set priority of operations, then use parentheses and nested parentheses.

Two periods .. can be used to denote a range of numbers. So if you are looking for an article within a certain set of dates you can include (within parentheses) 1990 .. 2010.

Category Selection: When you do a Google search, you will see in the Google bar at the top of the screen, a Menu item called More. If you select this option, you will see a large set of categories which you can use to limit your search. For example, I often want to limit my search to academic or scientific research articles (possibly related to medicine). Within the More selection screen I can choose Scholar. More typically, you might want to choose categories such as Shopping, Video, Images.

Refine the Site Search: Often, when you are searching for reviews,  want may to avoid sites with paid ads such as blogs they receive  top search engine placements. To do this, you can put in the word like Forum which will lead you to specific type of sites. By doing this, you can locate forum threads where members are discussing a particular item, health treatment, book or movie, etc. The more active forums are usually at the top of Google’s search results.

Geographical Searches:  Very often you will be doing a geographical search for restaurants, real estate agents, theaters, acupuncture clinics, clubs, etc. For this type of search you can use the word “near” followed by the geographical location. The location can be a city, state, neighborhood and best a zipcode. Google will usually (but not always) provide you with a Google map with many target links. These results are part of Google’s business registration (Google’s Places for Business) which most businesses subscribe to. Not all businesses are familiar with these services and you can still use the regular listings to search for a local business.

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