6 Tips to improve your search engine results

6 Tips to improve your search engine results


4 min read

Search engines are the most commonly used tools by developers when working on solving programming problems.

Routine tasks such as running “How to” and “plugin XYZ for...” search queries play a significant part in our daily lives as programmers.

Thanks to advanced technologies running behind the scenes, popular search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo often give a quick and accurate answer to most queries.

Yet, there are many query options you can use to unlock the search engine’s full potential.

Here are some tips to make the most of your search results :

1. Asterisk wildcard

This is a very powerful feature for enabling partial search, it can come in handy when you are not sure about the full query or just want to browse a certain topic.

The browser will take the asterisk (*) and replace it dynamically with all possible hits.



Google top results:

  • How to create pages dynamically in gatsby.js.
  • How to get started with gatsby.js 2 and Redux.
  • How to source content with gatsby.js.
  • How to use images in gatsby.js.
  • How to secure gatsby.js.

2. Colon

The use of a colon (:) enables adding specificity to the query, it tells the browser to run the search term only on a specific website.



The list will contain only posts from stackoverflow.com. At the time of the writing, google found 1.2M results for the query above.

3. Hyphen

The hyphen (-) is used to exclude a certain category from the search results, this can be used when a term has different meanings.



The query above will return all results related to “Mocha” excluding anything related to -coffee. as mocha is a coffee variant.

This query will return results related to Mocha, the Javascript testing framework.

4. The "OR" operator

Yes, OR operator works the same way in google search as in programming languages, this feature enables you, you guessed it, to run multiple queries in a single search term.




Adding quotes (" ") around the query tells the search engine to search for that exact term.



6. Image size

Adding image dimensions in your image search query will reduce your search time significantly, this feature allows you to add the widthxheight option to your query.



This query will return filtered cat images to 500px width and 500px height.


These tips are only a few of very powerful options you can pass to your query, in case you would like to explore more, here is a link to google search help documentation

Thank you for reading, if you liked this article, do not hesitate to share it with your friends. Follow me on twitter for daily programming tips.

Have a nice day!