Ask The Techspert: How To Google Like A Pro – Senior Planet from AARP

Ask The Techspert: How To Google Like A Pro – Senior Planet from AARP

With approximately 99,000 searches processed every second—yes, second—Google has established itself as the universal gateway to information on just about anything under the sun. For every search made, Google, by default, utilizes impressive search algorithms to sort through hundreds of billions of web pages and provide the best possible results in relevance order.

Unfortunately, many people don’t always get the answer to their search on the first try because they are unaware of Google’s numerous basic and advanced features and techniques that can immensely enhance their search experience. Thankfully, this article is all about them.

Add more descriptive words to your search

Always strive to be as specific as possible in your search terms using the least words. This tip goes hand-in-hand with avoiding wordy search terms. For instance, searching “Italian restaurant in Brooklyn” is better than “Restaurant in New York” and “Best restaurant to eat Italian food in New York.”

Use Google Search Tabs or Sections

For every search, Google groups its results in different tabs to provide more relevant information to its users. See the picture below for the different Google search tabs:

Depending on the type of results you’re looking for, select the most relevant tab to get more suitable information. In the picture above, the search term is “Senior Planet.” If you wish only to see news-related results about Senior Planet, select the News tab.

Use Special Characters and Operators in your Search (Advanced)

Google processes a few special characters and operators from your search terms differently to fine-tune your search results. Here are some of the most common:

  • Quotation marks for laser focus: If you want Google only to show results that include a specific word or phrase, add it within quotation marks. For example, searching ‘News about “Senior Planet”‘ will only show results that mention “Senior Planet” together at least once. But searching ‘News about Senior Planet’ will also include results that do not include “Senior Planet” together.
  • The tilde for similar words: If you want to expand your search to similar words to the one you used in your search, place a tilde right in front of that word. For example, searching ‘~used car’ will also search for ‘pre-owned car,’ etc. Using this sign widens your search result list.
  • Wild card asterisk: Use an asterisk as a placeholder for a word or phrase you can’t remember when typing your search terms. Google will understand that your search includes a word or phrase you couldn’t remember, will iterate through appropriate words and phrases, and search accordingly. The asterisk comes in handy when you only recall a word or two from a song lyrics or a movie title. Using ‘* the Rings’ as a search term will automatically search for things like ‘The Lords of the Rings’ or ‘The Fellowship of the Rings,’ etc. 

Use Google Search Tools

For most searches, Google retrieves millions of results. So Google implemented search tools to help filter and refine search results even further. Let’s say you search ‘Senior Planet.’ If you use the search tool to only show results that match your search terms verbatim, you will be able to avoid millions of misleading results.

In the picture below, you can see the three main search tools Google offers. The other tools are by default hidden in Google settings.

Google search time tool

  • Time filter: This filters out results according to the time they were added to the Internet. It defaults to Any time.
  • Search type: toggles between showing All results or Verbatim. The latter will ensure that all results include the word or phrase you searched verbatim. It defaults to All results.
  • Advanced search: This one is rarely used because it requires too much work to make one search. See the picture below. Please note that all fields do not need to be completed for the advanced search to work.

Google advanced search

Use Google Search Keys (Advanced)

You can use multiple search keys to add more information about your search. Here are just a few of the most popular ones:

  • inurl: – The word following this key will tell Google to search for it inside the URL links, not the web pages. For example, try searching ‘iPod inurl: apple.’ The URL links of the results webpages should include ‘apple.’
  • Site: – This key lets you specify the website where Google should focus its search.
  • Filetype: – Allows you to search for results with a downloadable document of the specified file type. For example, searching ‘Senior Planet filetype: pdf’ will prioritize webpage results about Senior Planet, including a downloadable PDF file.

More Tips

The Google Search bar can do more than search information. It is also a calendar, scientific calculator, translator, conversion calculator, etc. For some searches, just ask Google instead of focusing on using the right keywords. Search ‘square root of 2 times 3,’ and Google will display the answer with a calculator.

When using the Google smartphone app, you can search using a camera, a picture, voice, humming, etc.

In December 2023, Google added an Artificial Intelligence assistant (Gemini AI) to help understand more human-like search terms. This means that if you have a question you’d ask an expert and need a quick answer, type it in the search bar, and Gemini AI will skim through the internet and give you a human-like answer as the first result. However, we still need our search skills in many cases to get the desired results.

To learn more about how Google search works, please visit

Got a tech question that just cannot wait? Ask them directly to Senior Planet Technology Trainers and Verizon Experts by joining the Senior Planet Community group, Ask a Tech Expert , or call our free Senior Planet Tech Hotline at 888-713-3495.

Your Turn

What Google search tip is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

The government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is no longer accepting new applications and currently winding down for existing households receiving the benefit. When the ACP ends, so will the internet company’s discounted rate. To learn more, visit here

Featured image credit: Urupong –


Jonathan-Techspert-techTechspert Jonathan is Senior Planet’s Sr. Digital Community Relations and Product Specialist and a former Senior Planet San Antonio technology trainer. He is also an iOS developer with a background in Information Systems and Cyber Security.

Have a tech question that’s got you stumped? Send your tech questions to Techspert Jonathan using THIS FORM. He’ll be tackling one question a month from readers.

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