This is a summary + easier rewording of Google's help topic on the subject. It's a tutorial of some of the things that'll help you make use of Google's features with searching. I hope this helps you figure out how to properly mold your search queries to get more accurate results. All examples used here only have the "quotation marks" to make it clearer unless stated otherwise.
Say you were doing a school research for geography class about Mauna Loa’s, the biggest volcano in the world, major eruptions. Rather than just searching for Mauna Loa, search for “Mauna Loa major eruptions” or “Mauna Loa 1926 1950”.
Capitalization doesn’t matter with Google searches. Searching “Mauna Loa” or “MAUNA LOA” will not make a difference.
The word order of your search does affect the results. You’ll get more results searching “Mauna Loa” than you would searching “Loa Mauna” or maybe just have the results in a different order but same results since it’s the same keywords.
Google ignores common words and characters such as “where” and “how”, as well as certain single digits and single letters because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box. If a common word is needed to shape your results better, you can add a + sign before the word, but be sure to leave a space between the previous word and the +. For example, you can search “Dude, +Where’s My Car?” to help get more results about the movie.
Another way to include common words in your search is with the use of quotation marks. The quotation marks are not mainly for including common words, but to search that exact phrase. Say you heard Children of Bodom’s Needled 24/7, but you didn’t know the name of the song, so you searched a quote you remembered from the song, you could search ‘lyrics “when the knife in my back starts to twinge n turn”’ without the ‘single quotes’.
To help optimize your searches, Google checks the roots of the words you searched and other forms of the word(s). For example, if you searched “smashing my PS3”, you would still get the ever so popular YouTube video of SmashMyPS3.com’s destruction of a PS3.
If you’re searching for a word/term that has multiple meanings or occurrences in multiple various topics, you can use the - symbol behind a word you don’t want to include in your results, of course leaving a space between the word before and the -. Say you wanted to do a search to see if there are any religions that believe in some stairway that leads to heaven and you were sick of getting Led Zeppelin results, you could search “stairway to heaven -Led -Zeppelin”.
The I’m Feeling Lucky link is there for if you just want to go to the first result. For example if you searched “Church of Google” and clicked I’m Feeling Lucky, it would take you to churchofgoogle.com directly, rather than to a Google page with results.
If you’d like to search a certain site for a term, you can use the site: tag. It would be used like this “Wii site:Nintendo.com” to search for all pages about the Wii in Nintendo.com.
If you’re searching a word to get it’s definition, you can search “define:anthropology” to get the definition of anthropology.
If you’re searching Google, but would like to get a Wikipedia result, you can add wiki as the first word in your search. So you can search “wiki sega” and you’ll get Wikipedia’s article on SEGA as your first result. This is mostly helpful if you have Google as your homepage, so when Google loads, you search your wiki search and click I’m Feeling Lucky to go directly to the Wikipedia article on the topic.
Say you are looking for the lyrics of Arch Enemy’s Nemesis in PDF format, but didn’t know any sites that do that. You can add filetype:pdf to your search to get only *.pdf files as your results. So you would search “Arch Enemy Nemesis filetype:pdf”
Adding intitle: at the beginning of your search will let you search the titles of the pages. You must put a . between each of the words of the title. Say you were searching for a page with Smelly Boy Farts as the title, but you also wanted to look for one Fart Jokes written somewhere in there. You could search “intitle:smelly.boy.farts fart jokes” and you’ll get results of pages with Smelly Boy Farts in the title and Fart Jokes in the text of the site.
I personally find this a very lame technique since I’m a music quality whore, but others would find it very useful. If you were searching for a certain artist’s entire discography for download on a website, just add “intitle:index.of” with the quotation marks in the beginning of your search. It’s not a guaranteed thing nor is it a feature of Google. For example, if you wanted to search for some Michael Jackson MP3’s, you could search “intitle:index.of Michael Jackson” and you would get lots of results that include Michael Jackson MP3’s.
If you’re looking for other links that Google thinks are related to a certain link you have, you can add related: to the beginning of the search. This is helpful for answering this sort of question “if I like x artist, who else should I listen to?”. If you search “related:LadyGaga.com”, Google will give you results of official sites of other bands that you might like if you like Lady Gaga.
If you have a new website and want to see what other websites are linking to your site, you can add link: at the beginning of your search. Searching “link:nevermore.tv” would show you which websites have a link that leads to Nevermore’s official website.
When you use Google, you might want to set your Preferences › SafeSearch Filtering: to ‘Do not filter my search results.’ if you want to get the ‘true’ and uncensored results.
Beside around 122 languages, you can set your preferred interface language to five funny ones (klick on the links to try):