Google Search Complete!

Author: Kirk Paul Lafler and Charles Edwin Shipp
Publisher: Odyssey Press Books Pages: 192
ISBN: 9780692285169
Audience: Every Internet user
Rating: 3.5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

This book aims to help you perform better Google searches to achieve better query results, how does it fare?



Most of us spend a fair amount of time searching the Internet, so knowing how to do this more effectively should prove very helpful. This short book (180 pages, spread over eleven chapters), provides tips, tricks and shortcuts for better searches using the most popular search engine, Google.

This book is suitable for the beginner onwards, starting off with basic tips before moving onto more advanced topics.

Below is a chapter-by-chapter exploration of the topics covered.



Chapter 1 Speed, Accuracy, Organization and Reliability

The chapter opens with a look at the book’s main purpose: performing better searches for better results. This is followed with a brief look at how Google gathers, indexes and stores data. Your search terms are then used to query this data. Until recently the PageRank algorithm was used to query the data, this algorithm used more than 200 parameters. PageRank was replaced by the Hummingbird algorithm, this has various additional features including discovery and knowledge graphs.

The chapter reiterates the mantra “better search = better results”, and that better searches are possible with the rules, tips and tricks given in this book. The chapter ends with a look at a “Search Plan”, this is a form containing questions, which when completed should provide you with the words needed for a better search.

The chapter contains a good overview of how Google captures, indexes and stores data. And how that data is queried using Google’s algorithms.

Chapter 2 Planning Your Search

Google’s search screen is simple and powerful, able to access most data sources. The authors briefly outline 10 steps to planning your search, these are:

  1. Specify what are you searching for

  2. Split search terms into topics

  3. Be specific with topics

  4. Use synonyms, quotes, autocomplete etc

  5. Use Booleans (AND, OR, NOT)

  6. Avoid irrelevant terms

  7. Begin narrow then expand your search

  8. Use subject references

  9. Review if too many or too few results (see chapter 7)

  10. Apply extra keywords to get better results

The chapter ends with a search form to complete, and provides a useful example of searching for a brand of telescope within a given price range. I guess the search form forces you to think about what you want, in greater detail, and the example provided should be helpful to users new to search.




Chapter 3 Basic Search Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts for Beginners

Google allows a maximum of 32 words in your search terms. The chapter opens with some basic tips including:


  • Be short

  • Be specific

  • Use quotes

  • Use wildcards (*)

  • Use Boolean logic (NOT, AND, OR)

  • Exclude words (-)

  • Search within a website


This is followed by 14 pages of examples, each taking a whole page, composed of: examples (e.g. searching text with a wildcard), search text (what you enter in Google search), number of results returned, and the top results (as output by Google search).

Unfortunately, these 14 pages are not introduced, nothing is said about them, they just appear – this pattern is repeated with the later example pages too. This might be disconcerting to some readers. All that needs to be said is “Examples of what we’ve discussed are shown in the pages that follow.”

This was followed by various specific examples with walkthroughs, including: purchasing a new telescope, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s top 10 inventions. The examples start with details of what you are searching for, followed by how to complete the search form, then example searches, and the results produced. Also included was an image search, again, this was not explained, it just appears.

At first, I felt the various examples showed too much output, but later I thought it perhaps better reflects the variable output of the underlying query.

The chapter contains some useful sample searches and results, which depends on the variation of keywords, quotes and Boolean logic used as the search criteria. It should be noted the “number of results found” given in the overview grid does not match the examples that follow (presumably they were done at different times?!). Several pages seem to appear from nowhere, without any introduction or explanation, this fault should have been caught by the editors. This was a useful chapter but with awkward intersections.

Chapter 4 Using Punctuation Symbols for Better Searching

This chapter discusses various punctuation symbols that can aid better searching, these include:


  • Synonyms (~)

  • Social tags (@)

  • Trending hashtags (#)

  • Price ($)


This is followed by 8 pages of helpful examples, but again they are not introduced with reference to the preceding pages, they are just there.

Chapter 5 Exploring Specialized Operators

This chapter looks at the various specialised operators that can help produce better results, these include:


  • Definition (of a word)

  • Map details

  • Population info

  • Stock info

  • Time info

  • Weather info


This is followed by 7 pages of helpful examples, but again they are not introduced with reference to the preceding pages, they just appear without explicit context.

Chapter 6 General, Subject, Public and Private Database Searches

While Google has access to a large store of data, there are certain data stores which you will need to search independently of Google, search will however identify these databases. The chapter opens with a discussion of the various types of databases: General, Subject, Public, and Private.

Each of these types of database is discussed in more detail, and URLs to the most common ones are listed. You may need to pay a small fee to access these databases.

Chapter 7 Too Few Results, Too Many Results, or Results Not Relevant – Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts for Getting the Results You Want

During your searches, you might end up with too few, too many, or even irrelevant results. This chapter discusses options to correct this.

If you have too few results, options suggested include: check for typos, use the query results to help expand your query, check for contradictions, and check for implied ANDs. This is followed by 3 pages of examples.

If you have too many results, options suggested include: use the query results to help restrict your query, check for wildcards, check for ORs, use the minus symbol to omit words, and use the Google search tools iteratively (e.g. restrict dates). This is followed by 8 pages of examples.

If you have irrelevant results, options suggested include: check for typos, look for a relevant word from the query results, and see the previous sections of this chapter. No examples are given.

This chapter included some very useful tips to obtain better query results. The first example uses FileType to limit the type of files searched – however this keyword isn’t discussed here, indeed the FileType keyword isn’t introduced until chapter 8.

Chapter 8 Advanced Search Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

This chapter contains details of the more advanced search keywords, search tips discussed include restricting the search via:


  • Date range

  • Price range

  • All words in page text

  • All words in URL

  • File type

  • Safesearch


This is the most advanced chapter, with many useful examples (26 pages in total) – very instructive to the searcher. Many of the search keywords discussed up until now can also be specified via a more user-friendly interface, and this is the subject of the next chapter.

Chapter 9 Exploring Google’s Advanced Search Interface

The default Google search screen is very simple and easy to use, but it is possible to create complex search queries by using search keywords. The advanced interface displays these more advanced search keywords as input fields on the advanced search interface screen e.g. file type to search for.

The advanced page has many options, and is divided into 2 sections: “Find pages with...” and “Narrow results by...”. It is possible to narrow the results by language, region, date, domain, safesearch, and reading level. This is followed by 6 pages of examples e.g. exact search for R programming.

This was a useful chapter, providing a user interface to many of the search keywords already discussed in previous chapters. Indeed it might be possible to identify the introduction of new search keywords using this interface.

Chapter 10 Image Search Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

Increasingly images are being created and stored, so it’s important to be able to search for them. Google provides a search image interface for this. The chapter contains 12 pages of examples.

At the end of chapter 10, there’s a section concerning a useful blog relating to learning about search. While the section is useful, again it is not introduced, or put into context – it is even omitted from the contents page.



Most of us spend plenty of time searching for information, it’s an important topic, so a book that can teach us how to get better search results should be a worthwhile investment of time and effort.

For the novice and intermediate level Google searcher, this book should prove very helpful, containing plenty of tips, tricks, shortcuts, and examples covering many areas – to give you better results from better search queries.

The book lacks flow within many chapters, sections are not introduced or put into context, they just appear (e.g. almost all the examples sections are not introduced). Voice search, the Google toolbar, or Google’s Search Help are not discussed.

While this book is suitable for most beginner and intermediate level Google searchers, I suspect some readers might prefer the more concise approach given in Google’s own Search Help Center.



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Last Updated ( Friday, 13 February 2015 )