Use Google to Search Any Individual Site

Last Updated May 10, 2010 11:21 AM EDT

One of the Google tricks I use almost daily is the site operator, which focuses your search on an individual Web site rather than the Web at large.

Let's use, oh, BNET as an example. I admit it: our site's built-in search tool is, um, er, how to put this delicately, atrocious. Fortunately, it's a snap to leverage Google to search BNET -- and only BNET.

Suppose you're trying to find a post I wrote awhile back about a Google Voice competitor. You can't remember the name of it, only that you saw it here. Here's what you'd type into the Google search box: broida google voice
And here's what you'd get back:

Pretty simple, huh? To search any site in the same manner, just prefix your search term(s) with site, a colon, and then the URL -- making sure to put all of that together with no spaces in between. With that done, tack on your search parameters. A couple more examples: DIY iPhone stand nestle facebook "friday night lights" Minka Kelly
As that last one suggests, you can combine multiple Google operators in the same search -- in this case site and quotation marks (which produce exact matches of the words inside them).

Like I said earlier, I use this trick constantly -- it's a huge time-saver. If you know of any other indispensable Google-search helpers, by all means list 'em in the comments.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.