How to get better search results on Google, and other sites

Search Engine Optimization

Here are some tips and tricks for making a search engine do what you want it to.  That’s right, you can get even better search results that show exactly what you’re looking for.

Search only a specific site

Lets start with one of my favorites, searching within a specific site. That’s right you can use Google to search pages on your favorite website.  This is a great feature to use when looking for an old article or news story you want to read again.

To use this feature you type your search like image below. The first part is your search term “Wizard of Oz”, the second part is “site:” followed by the site you want to search. We will be using “” in this example.


Search for a specific phrase

This one is so simple, and yet so useful. Simply put the word of phrase that you want an exact match of in quotations. Google will only show you sites that have words in that exact order.


Exclude a word from your search results

This one is more useful than it should be. I honestly use it all the time when searching a site such as craigslist.  If there is a certain word that keeps showing up in posts that you don’t want to see, simply put a subtraction sign in front of it. Now if a search result has that word in it, it won’t show up. I use this technique when searching for cars on craigslist by adding words I don’t want to see such as –leaks.


Combine two different things

My favorite combination is using both the technique to exclude words, and the technique to search for an exact phrase. Combining these two search operators means you can use things such as –“was running”, or –“fixer upper”.


For more search tips and tricks check out Google’s official documentation. They have all kinds of ways to narrow down your search results, the one’s I showed you are just the tip of the iceberg.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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