The Coder's Guide to Finding The Perfect Answer in Google

by Bradley Gauthier


Nearly any answer is available online, as long as you know what to ask. I've found all sorts of creative answers in search engines and you can too. Below is the ultimate way to search Google.

Latest Results

One of the most annoying aspects of searching Google is finding a seemingly perfect answer, only to realize it was written 8 years ago.

By default, I have Chrome only show the past year's results.

You can easily do this by adding a new search engine in Chrome's settings.

In Chrome's settings there is a search engine tab. Inside you can add a new search engine. Click the button and add the following information:

  1. Search engine: Google Current Year Results
  2. Keyword: google.com
  3. Query URL: https://www.google.com/search?tbs=qdr:y&q=%s

That's it! When you search from the URL bar, the results will default to the past year.

For more evergreen searches, you can easily select "show all" in the Google SERP.

Search Exact Match

By putting quotes around a set of terms, Google will look for the exact match.

This is often helpful when the entire search string is ambiguous. For instance:

"javascript this"

The above will ensure the exact match will exist in the results.

Exclude Words

You know those pesky searches where they are cluttered by unhelpful results?

They can be cleaned up by finding which words to exclude from the results. Do this by including a hyphen in front of any keyword.

modern CMS -wordpress

Voila! The results are cleaner.

Language Parsing

Caveat: Google is getting pretty good with parsing language so this one may not work as well as it once did. However, I like to make sure the search engine knows exactly what I'm looking for when I hit enter.

It may seem intuitive to search with something a human would understand, like this:

How do I sort a list of objects in Javascript?

But this query has all sorts of filler words. And more importantly, this query does not give Google any idea of what is most vital to you. Is it sort, list, objects, or Javascript?

You are leaving it up to Google to determine what weight each keyword has in your search.

Back when I did search engine optimization (SEO) for companies, I learned that Google puts a weight to each word in the title of a web page. The first word is the heaviest weighted, followed by the second, and so on. And it seems that almost every time I search, this same weight system appears.

So instead, if you structure your search in favor of Google's algorithm, your results will be much better:

Javascript sort objects

The first word tells Google you would like to focus on Javascript. Then you need to sort something. And finally, what you are wanting to sort.

Next time you search for something, remember this formula:

Macro + Micro + Specifics

Language parsing algorithms are getting better, but it is best to present the search engine with the most optimized query possible.

Your Next Search

I hope these tips will help you find the perfect answer next time you search in Google.

Good luck searching!

Bradley Gauthier

Brad is the founder of Sitecast. He's a life-long coder and entrepreneur. When not coding, he can be found outside exploring nature. Learn more about him on his personal site.