Advanced Google search tips to help shop responsibly

It’s the exact opposite of searching on Amazon.

When I write reviews, I use some simple advanced search tips and tricks in Google to help me find vegan products, information on sustainability, and so on. Using these tips can really help you find what you’re looking for, so that you can make informed and responsible choices when you’re shopping online. These are my favourite simple search hacks, for people who might not even know that this is possible.

You might wonder what use this is when Google is supposed to be so good. Think of it as narrowing down the results, speeding up the process, and removing frustration. If you’ve ever tried searching Amazon for “hiking skirt” and the third result down is “chrome plated left-handed spatula”, you know how annoying crappy searches are.

Of course, you could just use it search sites for really niche content like “Ben Affleck’s penis”, as per the screenshot above. We don’t kinkshame here.

How to search a website for a specific term

Let’s use our friends over at Lovehoney in our example. Say we want to search the site for vegan products. In the Google search box, we just add ‘site:’ in front of the website address (tip: search for the site first, then add ‘site:’ afterwards); and the term that we want to search for after the address. What appears in the search box looks like this:

site: vegan

Et voila; every result is from and contains the word ‘vegan’!

How to remove a word from the search results

Okay; we’ve found all of our vegan products, but there are too many results for supplements and we can’t be bothered to scroll through them all. We want to remove those. How to do it? Just put a minus sign immediately in front of the word you want left out of the results:

site: vegan -supplement

Using the minus sign this way is an example of a search operator.

Using more than one search operator

Now we’ve removed the word ‘supplement’ and we see there are still lots of results with the word ‘BDSM’ and we want to exclude those too. Can we do that?

Definitely! You can use more than one search operator in your search term. Just add it straight after the previous one: site: vegan -supplement -BDSM

I don’t want to know why people are discussing Ben Affleck’s penis. Maybe it’s something the kids are doing on TikTok.

Search for two different specific words

You can use the search operator ‘or’ to look for more than one specific word. Let’s say we want to search Lovehoney for things that are vegan or vegetarian. All we need to do is put ‘or’ between them: site: vegan or vegetarian

This search term will give you every result that has the words ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’, including pages that have both. Here’s another example, using ‘vegan’ and ‘eco-friendly’, which is a search I use often. You need to be careful of your punctuation; if you accidentally leave a space in ‘eco -friendly’, you’ll be telling Google to leave our results that include ‘friendly’.

How to search for a specific term

Rather than just search for a specific word, you can search for a specific term. Let’s say we want to search Lovehoney for leopard print items. The search site: leopard print, will work, but it will return all the results that contain ‘print’ and ‘leopard’. That might be good enough, but you can search for the specific phrase with the words in the right order by putting speech marks around the term you want to search for: site: “leopard print”

Now all your leopard print mankini dreams can come true!

There’s really no theoretical limit to how you can combine these terms together – for example, site: “leopard print” and mankini or briefs and vegan -leather -bdsm -“Fifty Shades of Grey”, which will give you results for vegan leopard print mankinis and briefs that aren’t vegan, leather, or from the Fifty Shades of Grey range – but be careful about getting too specific with the search as you can reduce the results to zero quite easily.

If there are any specific search queries I can help with, leave a comment below!

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