- Phrase search (" ")
Just use double quotes (") around your search terms and Google will search for the exact words in that exact order without any changes. Be careful! When you use a phrase search you might miss good results accidentally.
For example, a search for
["Barack Obama" ](with quotes) will miss the pages that refer to Barack H. Obama.
- Search just a specific website (site:)
Google allows you to limit your search results to a single website.
For example, the query
[windows site:microsoft.com]will return pages about Windows but only from microsoft.com. You can also specify a domain extension, for example [ windows site:.gov ]will return results only from all .gov domains.
- Terms to exclude (-)
When you attach a minus sign just before a word, it tells Google that you do not want pages that contain this word to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space.
For example, if you enter
[ anti-virus software ], the minus sign is understood as a hyphen and will not exclude results; however [ anti-virus -software ]will search for the words 'anti-virus' but remove all references to 'software'.
You can exclude multiple words by using the - sign in front of all of them, for example
[ jaguar -cars -football -os ]. The - sign can be used to exclude more than just words. For example, place a hyphen before the 'site:' operator (discussed above) to exclude a specific site from your search results.
- Fill in the blanks (*)
The *, or wildcard, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example, the search
[ Google * ]will give you results about many of Google's products. The query [ Obama voted * on the * bill ]will give you stories about different votes on different bills. Note that the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.
- Search exactly as is (+)
Google automatically searches for synonyms, but sometimes you don't really want it to. By attaching a + immediately before a word (remember, no spaces after the +!), you tell Google to match that word exaclty as you typed it. This is very similar to phrase search except it applies to single words.
- The OR operator
Google's normally tries to find matches with all the words in your search. If you want to specifically allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator (note: you must type 'OR' in ALL CAPS!).
[ Miami Dolphins 2004 OR 2005 ]will give you results about either one of these years, whereas [ Miami Dolphins 2004 2005 ](without the OR) will show pages that include both years on the same page. The pipe symbol "|" can be substituted for OR.
By combining these search tricks, you can have an incredible level of control over your Google searchs. So, for example you can perform the following Google search:
case study site:r2computing.blogspot.com -"5-week e-Course"
This will search for the terms case study on my blog but will exclude the phrase "5-week e-Course". Hopefully you get the idea...if not, comment below and I will try to answer your questions.
BTW, most of these work on all the other search engines too!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orvaratli/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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