A few tips to become better at Google searches

Jeremy Marx

Everyone has gone to Google before and performed a search. However, this post will focus on some of the features you might not know that will help you search better.

Google Scholar

Whereas Google will display results for just about any website, Google Scholar will only display results from academic sources.

Custom Search Engine

Through Google, you can create a custom search engine. This allows you to decide which sites will be searched, so you can restrict research to only a few preferred sites.

To use it, go to and click the link for New search engine. Then, add the websites you would like included in the search. You can limit your search to just part of a site or the entire domain.

Upon clicking Create, you are able to get the code of the search engine if you would like to embed it on your own site. Also, it provides a direct link to the URL for your custom search engine.

Google search operators

Google search operators allow you to quickly find what you are looking for without needing to click on any links in the results. These are terms that you add to the beginning of your search to give you a more specific result.

Below are some of the search operators that I have used most often:

Using define: will provide you with a definition of the term.

Using site: will provide results only from the site or domain you provide.

Using location: in Google News will provide articles about the location you specified.

To practice using these three operators, perform these searches:

define: radiator mars rover

Go to Google News and search for location: california global warming

Other search operators are available here.


To practice using these more powerful features of a Google search:

  • Search for an item in your curriculum in Google and Google Scholar and compare the results.
  • Create a custom search engine for an assignment you teach.
  • Use the define, site, and location search operators for items related to your curriculum.