Google‎ > ‎

Basic Searching in Google

examples from:

Try natural language searching first-- Google is optimized for this.

Use CAPS when entering Boolean terms.

Use parentheses to organize multiple search strategies, ie: (teach OR train OR training) "online searching" tutorials site:edu

AND is not necessary. It's implied. ie: cats dogs = cats AND dogs in a Google search.

OR tells Google to search for either one of several words, for example [ San Francisco Giants 2004 OR 2005 ].

" " (double quotes) around a set of words tells Google to consider the exact words in that exact order. Google already does this for the most part, and by doing this you may be missing good results. For example,a search for [ "Alexander Bell" ] (with quotes) will miss the pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.

site: allows you to search within a site. For example: [ iraq ] or [ iraq ]
One way to find more reliable sources is to limit by the following domains with the site limiter:
  • .gov
  • .edu
  • .org
  • .mil
- allows you to exclude certain terms. The minus sign should be before the word you want to exclude and should be preceded by a space. In the example [ anti-virus -software ] Google reads "anti-virus" with a hyphen, but "software" as a word to exclude.

+ ensures that a word is in your search, and that synonyms are not automatically searched (which they are by default).

* acts as a placeholder for unknown terms. This works in whole words, but not parts of words. For example, [ Obama voted * on the * bill ] will give results on different votes on different bills.
* can also be used to ask Google to fill in the blanks. For example, rather than "who invented the parachute," you can use "the parachute was invented by *" (from
* can also be used for proximity searching. For example:
new library technology 2010 - About 25,600,000 results
"new library technology" 2010 - About 251,000 results
new library technology * 2010 - 38 results
"new library technology" * 2010 - 17 results
One * is used for each two intervening words, and two * is used for each four, etc.

AROUND() is another proximity searching feature. Enter the number of words you want Google to search around your search term. For example, [ solar production industry AROUND (3) China ]

~ operator tells Google to search for synonyms of the word immediately following it. It can also be used to search for the term with alternate endings.
Another option for synonyms is using Google's related searches tool (discussed in Google search tools)

filetype: Adding a filetype limiter can be a way to return higher quality information more quickly. For example, XLS documents are likely to have statistics or lists, pdf or doc documents tent to be reports. For example, [ accreditation site:edu filetype:pdf ]

many of these options are also available in Google's advanced search window which
allows the user to limit with Boolean-style limiters, by reading level, language, file type, within site or domain, date, usage rights, region and numeric range. There also is a "like pages" search in which the user can enter a URL and Google will find other pages like it.