How to Use Google Search Engine Options

How to Use Google Search Engine Options
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Suppose you want to search online for information about building a computer. A typical search term for that topic might be “build a computer.” Typing this phrase into Google’s search box and pressing the “Google Search” button takes you to the search engine results page (SERP) containing relevant results to your particular terms.

The SERP contains not only links to relevant content, it also gives you a quick previews of the page’s contents allowing you to avoid having to go to a web page and only find out then that it didn’t contain the information you are looking for.

If you look on the upper left side of the screen, you will notice a link titled Show Options next to a small plus symbol. This link is your gateway to a wealth of options and features not overly publicized on the SERP.

Clicking this link opens up a side pane where there resides a wealth of options, search parameters, and filters that you can use to make the SERP contain exactly what you are looking for. Although it is beyond the scope of this article to explain each option in detail, we will take a look at some of the better options in that side pane.

Click Google Show Options Link

Tips on Using Google’s Search Options

The first seven options in Google’s Show Options pane allow you to narrow your search down on the SERP by media type. Notice that by clicking on one of these links, you can filter your search to the right of the pane to include only images, videos, news, blogs, updates, books, or discussions.

Filtering by images, for example, would help you find web pages that contain images of people building a computer. This is especially useful if you want to see how to install a video card or upgrade your computer’s memory.

The second set of options let you filter your results by time. If you are looking for information on how to build a computer using the latest video card, this will help you filter out results that deal with installing old computer parts.

The next option allows you to filter the results by location. Using your IP address, Google knows approximately what part of the world you live in. By clicking on the Nearby link, you can filter results to include only pages that deal with your location. This is useful if, for example, you are looking for a company to build you a custom computer.

The View options next on the list let you customize how Google displays your results. For example, using the Wonder Wheel option, you can explore your search query visually by expanding and narrowing down the search. If you are unknowledgeable about what you are searching for, the Wonder Wheel can help you explore related topics by seeing exactly how other topics are related to your original search term.

Google Wonder Wheel

The last set of options is useful for further narrowing down a search. It is no secret that the Internet is big business for some companies. Consequently, they spend big money to appear at the top of the SERP. Using the Fewer Shopping Sites option will display fewer commerce web sites so you can find information about building a computer without looking at results from people who want to sell you something.


Google offers many ways to help you find exactly what you are looking for on the web. Particularly useful are the options in the Show Options pane found on the SERP. Using these features, you can filter the results down and even explore information visually with the Wonder Wheel. Using these Google tips, you’ll find what you are looking for on the web faster and more efficiently.