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|Power Googling: Selecting Search Terms & Crafting Your Query|
The search terms you enter and the order in which you enter them affect
Use words likely to appear on the pages you want.
USE [ Australia
Target store ]
NOT [ Does Australia have Target ]
Avoid using words that you might associate with your topic, but you wouldn't expect to find on the designated page(s).
USE [ lasik eye surgery ]
NOT [ documentation on lasik eye surgery ]
USE [ jobs
product marketing Sunnyvale ]
NOT [ listings of product marketing jobs in Sunnyvale ]
Be specific: Use more query terms to narrow your results.
Does your query have enough specific information for Google to determine unambiguously what you're seeking?
USE [ Java Indonesia ],
[ java coffee ], or
programming language ]
NOT [ java ]
How can you come up with more specific search terms?
Consider answers to the questions, who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, and how?
Add a term that distinguishes among them.
USE [ Tom
Watson MP ],
Watson golf ], or
Watson IBM ]
NOT [ Tom Watson ]
USE [ quit smoking program ]
NOT [ program on quitting tobacco cigarette smoking addiction ]
You don't have to correct your spelling.
When you enter: [ Anna Kornikova tennis ]
Google responds: Did you mean: Anna Kournikova tennis
To search for a phrase, a proper name, or a set of words
in a specific order, put them in double quotes.
A query with terms in quotes (" ") finds pages containing the
exact quoted phrase.
Find pages mentioning Google's co-founder
Find pages containing
A quoted phrase is the most widely used type of special
you're looking for is already inside you" Anne Lamott
A query with terms in quotes (" ") finds pages containing the exact quoted phrase.
Find pages mentioning Google's co-founder Larry Page.
Find pages containing
[ Larry Page ]
A quoted phrase is the most widely used type of special search syntax.
[ "what you're looking for is already inside you" Anne Lamott speech ]
Force Google to include a term by surrounding it with double quotes.
[ "The" Onion ]
Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a "-" sign.
Do not put a space between the - and the word.
USE [ dolphins -football ]
NOT [ dolphins
Search for a twins support group in Minnesota, but exclude pages with the word "baseball".
support group Minnesota -baseball ]
You can exclude more than one term.
Find pages on "salsa" but not the dance nor dance classes.
[ salsa -dance -class ]
Find synonyms by preceding the term with a ~, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator.
The tilde (~) operator takes the word immediately following it and searches both for that specific word and for the word's synonyms. It also searches for the term with alternative endings.
Put the ~ (tilde) next to the word, with no spaces between the ~ and its associated word.
USE [ ~lightweight laptop ]
NOT [ ~ lightweight laptop ]
Why does Google use tilde? In math, the "~" symbol means "is similar to".
The tilde tells Google to search for pages that are synonyms or similar to the term that follows.
[ ~inexpensive ] matches
"affordable," and "low cost"
[ ~run ] matches "run," "runner's," "running," as well as "marathon"
Looking for a guide, help, tutorial, or tips on using Google?
[ google ~guide ]
Interested in food facts as well as nutrition and cooking information?
[ ~food ~facts ]
The synonym operator tends not to work well on infrequently-used query terms.
[ ~cockroach ]
If you don't like the synonyms that Google suggests when you use the ~ operator, specify your own synonyms with the OR operator, which I describe next.
Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar).
[ Tahiti OR Hawaii ]
[ Tahiti | Hawaii ]
[ blouse OR shirt OR chemise ]
[ blouse | shirt | chemise ]
Note: If you write OR with a lowercase "o" or a lowercase "r," Google interprets the word as a search term instead of an operator.
Note: Unlike OR, a | (vertical bar) need not be surrounded by spaces.
Use quotes (" ") to group compound words and phrases together.
[ filter OR stop "junk email" OR spam ]
[ "New Zealand
Specify that results contain numbers in a range by specifying two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces.
[ recumbent bicycle $250..$1000 ]
Find the year the Russian Revolution took place.
[ Russian Revolution 1800..2000 ]
This table summarizes how to use the basic search operators, described on this page. You may include any of these operators multiple times in a query.
Notation Find result Example terms1 terms2 with both term1 and term2 [ carry-on luggage ] term1 OR term2
term2 with either term1 or term2 or both [ Tahiti OR Hawaii ]
[ Tahiti | Hawaii ]
" phrase" with the exact phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order [ "I have a dream" ]
[ "Rio de Janeiro" ]
"term" with term (The quotation marks operator, " ", is used around stop words that Google would otherwise ignore or when you want Google to return only pages that match your search terms exactly.) [ "i" spy ] -term without term [ twins minnesota -baseball] ~ term with term or one of its synonyms
(currently supported on Web and Directory search)
[ google ~guide ] number1..number2 with a number in the specified range
[ annual report 2000..2003 ]
This page was last modified on Monday February 27, 2012.
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