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Official Google Search Tips: Basic and Advanced
Basic Search Help - Web Search Help
Outlines basic search techniques and examples.
Refine Web Searches
Describes symbols used for phrase searching, fill-in-the-blank searching, excluding terms, and searching a specific site.
Filter Your Search Results
Describes how to narrow and adjust your search results. It also includes the "Verbatim" limiter, which is helpful when Google returns results with unwanted synonyms for your search terms, or when Google does not include all of your search terms in your results.
Describes how to find items similar to a site you already know, and how to find out what pages link to a site you already know.
Real Life Search Examples
Below are two real-life examples where using Google Advanced Search techniques helped researchers find the information they were interested in.
Additional Search Techniques
This is a basic search for information on caffeine and health. Notice that the results come from a variety of sources and are of varying quality. There are also far too many results to wade through!
caffeine health site:gov
Using the site:
limiter, we can limit results to only .gov web sites. This can also be used for .edu sites, and can even limit to a specific directory on a page, such as site:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
tea health green OR black
The OR operator looks for specified synonyms. This search for tea and health looks for either green tea or black tea.
* tea health
The * before our search term allows us to search for a broader variety of teas. In our results list, we might see green or black, but also rooibos or pu erh.
caffeine health -tea
Using the minus sign before a term in your search eliminates the term from your search results. In this case, the results include pages discussing caffeine and health, but that do not include discussion of tea.
"decaffeinated coffee" health
This search looks for pages that contain the exact phrase decaffeinated coffee, and ensures that the two terms appear somewhere together - not in unrelated parts of the page.
This search looks for pages with information on caffeine, but with the word "health" in the title of the page. Results may also include caffeine in the title (thanks to Google's search algorithms that privilege pages with search terms in the title), but all results will have health in the title.
pu erh tea $10..$20
Using numbers separated by two periods searches for pages that include numbers between those specified. This search looks for pu erh tea that costs between $10 and $20 a package.
The related: operator searches for similar pages. This searches returns pages related to the Mayo Clinic page above.
Results here include pages linking to the Mayo Clinic page on caffeine and health.
tea AROUND(5) health
Searches for the word tea within five words of the word health.
Techniques That No Longer Work
Discontinued June 2013. Using the tilde before one of our terms broadened searches and brought back results for terms similar to our search terms. In this example, ~caffeine returned results for coffee as well. Because Google is determining related terms, we had less control over the results than we would if we use the OR operator.
Discontinued October 2011. The + operator indicated to Google that you definitely wanted the particular term that followed the + in your search results.
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