A Few Google Search Tips

Google remains incredibly useful as the king of the web search engines. In this post, we would like to pass along some tips for improving your results when using Google, by entering some specific kinds of search requests.

  • Google will try to find web pages with ALL of the words that you enter in your input, so it is best to include the minimum number of words to get the results you want. An exception is that Google treats single letters and numbers, most prepositions and words like a, an, the, why, how, etc. as “noise” words and ignores them, so you should not type them.
  • If your search turns up many more pages than you want, you should examine the results and perform another, more specific search.
  • If you want to be sure your results do not include a specific word, prefix the word with a minus (-) sign with space before. For example [maui resorts golf -tennis] should find resorts on Maui that have golf facilities, but not tennis. Note: We have used the square brackets to indicate what to type for this and the following examples.
  • Google ignores most capitalization and treats all input as if were lower case, so don’t waste your time by capitalizing proper names.
  • Google will try to find other words that are forms of the words you enter. So, [diet needs] and [dietary needs] are equivalent.
  • To find pages that include either of two terms, include uppercase OR between the terms. For example, [Laurel Mississippi OR Maryland] should find information about a town called Laurel in either state.
  • To find pages that include synonyms for words, prefix those words with the tilde (~) character. For example [~infant ~nutrition] should return everything you want to know about feeding your baby.
  • Using quotation marks: Enclose anything you want matched exactly in double quotation marks. You can use this to find song lyrics or familiar quotations, for example. You can also use it to find articles containing specific single words, or for search terms containing the noise words mentioned above. Keep in mind that you can also enter more than one phrase in quotation marks.

More tips to follow. Stay tuned!

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2 comments on “A Few Google Search Tips

  1. Dan Russell on said:

    Just so you’ll know, the + sign is no longer supported in Google searches. Use double quotes around single words (e.g., [ "infant" ] ) in order to find *exactly* that word and no other. Use the intext: operator to ensure that specific text is including on the page you’re searching. (e.g., [ intext:"infant formula" nutrition ] will search for pages that HAVE the phrase “infant formula” and possibly the word nutrition on the page).

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