Updated April 13th, 2020.
First in a series of Google search tips.
Read them all:
- How to restrict your Google search to a single website
- How to search Google Images by color
- How to search Google for different kinds of pictures
- How to search Google for the newest results
- How to get better Google search results
Let’s say you’re using Google to search for something, and you know where on the web to look. You can tell Google to search a specified site exclusively– often getting better results than if you went to the site and searched it yourself.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for an article about freeway sound walls in Los Angeles, and you only want articles published in the Los Angeles Times. You go to latimes.com and search, and you get 113 articles, none of which seem to be about sound walls.
If you go to Google and search for “los angeles freeway sound walls” you get 245,000 results. That’s too many, and they’re not all from the Los Angeles Times. You need to restrict the search to articles on latimes.com. The trick: add “site:latimes.com” to the end of your search. That is, make it look like this:
Seearching Google for “los angeles freeway sound walls” with “site:latimes.com” at the end gives you 1,990 articles, all at latimes.com.
You’d think that latimes.com would be the best place to search for articles published at latimes.com, but obviously it just isn’t so.
You have to do it right: first the word “site” and then a colon, and then no space, and then the domain you care about. No “http” and no “www.” Just the domain. Want to search Apple’s site? Put “site:apple.com” at the end of your search. Want to search christianboyce.com? Put “site:christianboyce.com” at the end of your search. You get it.
(Want a list of everything on a site? Search for “site:” and the domain name, and nothing else. Try it now: see what Google finds on christianboyce.com.)
The “site:” technique helps you find more of what you’re looking for, but it can also help you find less. For example, let’s say you’re looking for Apple’s 10.11.5 combo update. If you add “site:apple.com” to the end of your search you’ll you’ll filter out everything that isn’t from apple.com, so any download links will be “official Apple.”
Whether you’re looking for more Google search results, or fewer, the “site:” method is a nice thing to know about. Give it a try next time you don’t find what you’re looking for.