Google Search Tips

Google Search Tips

How to Get More out of Google

I'm Feeling Lucky

Getting Specific

Singular is different from plural.

The order of words matters. Google considers the first word most important, the second word next, and so on.

Google ignores most little words or called stop words.

Google ignores most punctuation, except apostrophes, hyphens, and quote marks.

To Quote a Phrase

If you type in more than one keyword, Google automatically searches for all the words anywhere they appear on a Web page, whether they're side by side or scattered throughout.

If you want only Web pages that contain your words in order, as a complete phrase, let Google know by enclosing your words in quotes, as: "to be or not to be".

Searching Within Your Results

And vs. Or

When you run a search, Google assumes that you want to find all of the search words you type.

If, on the other hand, you want to find pages that have either one term or another, type OR between them, like this: "Ben Affleck" OR "Matt Damon" OR chimps

Finally, if you want one term plus any of several other terms, group the optionsin parentheses, like this: chimps ("Ben Affleck" OR "Mark Wahlberg")

Just Say No

Google lets you use a minus sign (or dash) to indicate that you don't want a certain term to appear in your results.: "Ben Affleck" -"Jennifer Lopez"

Just Say Yes

If a common word or number is critical to your search, you can tell Google to include it. Simply place a plus sign (+) directly in front of the term you want to include, like this: +the omen

Two Important Google Quirks


Google offer full-word wildcards. You can throw one into a phrase and have it substitute for a word. Thus, searching for "chicken with its * cut off" could find: "chicken with its head cut off," "chicken with its hair cut off," "chicken with its electricity cut off," and so on.

The full-word wildcard is also cool when you want the answer to a question.

Haley's comet appears every * years

Playing the wildcard

Google doesn't count wildcards as part of your *-word limit.

Similar pages

The "Similar pages" link searches the Web for pages that fall into the same general category as that result.

Sponsored Links

Cool Google Tricks

Definitions define sedulous

If you want a list of definitions and no other results, type in define followed by a colon and your terms, with no spaces on either side of the colon, like this: define:wireless LAN


You can use the blank Google search box as a calculator.


Google provides a phonebook service, letting you look up a phone number and address (with corresponding map) for business or residential listings.

To get a page of nothing but phonebook listings, type the word phonebook followed by a colon, then a space, and then the name and state you want to look up:

phonebook: ansonia veterinary center NY

To limit your search to residential listings, type rphonebook before the name and state. For business listings, use bphonebook.

Patents, Tracking IDs, and Other Numeric Goodies

Weather: weather: shanghai

Movies: movie public enemy

Superior Searching

Setting Preferences

SafeSearch Filtering

Page-specific tools:

Find pages similar to the page

Find pages that link to the page

Getting Fancy with Syntax

File format: filetype:[pdf|ppt|doc|xls|swf|]

Specifying where on a page to search: allintitle, allinbody, allinurl, allinlinks


Searching Titles: intitle:"file sharing"

A variation of this syntax, allintitle, finds pages that have all your keywords or phrases in the title, in any order: allintitle:file sharing

Searching Text: intext:amazon

Searching Anchors: inanchor:"Richard Stallman"

Searching Within Sites and Domains: site:gov "agricultural subsidies"

You can also use site to exclude a particular Web site from your search: books

Searching URLs:

Inurl is also handy when you want to exclude a site from your search: books -inurl:amazon

Who Links to Whom?

If you type in, Google spits out a list of pages linked to

Caching Up

The cache operator lets you view Google's last cached copy of a page, even if the page has moved from its original URL or changed radically:

Searching for Related Content

The related operator performs the same search as the "Similar pages" link that appears in a Google result: related:"sesame street"


The ~ symbol tells Google to look for synonyms: ~help "openoffice"

Most of the Kit and Caboodle

The info operator provides you with a tidy summary of the details Google can give you about a URL: info:firefox 3.6

Mixing Syntax

How Not to Mix Syntax

Canceling yourself out

Don't mix operators that cancel each other out: inurl:bluefly

Doubling up

"trading spaces" site:com site:edu

To get what you want, try this: "trading spaces" (site:edu OR site:com)

How to Mix Syntax Correctly

cattle intitle:form

Anatomy of a Google URL

Changing the Number of Results: num=?

The "q" toward the end signals the query itself.

Changing the Interface Language: hl=en

Other sites:

Many sites perform deeper, more specialized searches than Google.


Google: The Missing Manual

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