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Google Search Tips

Tips for more sophicated Google searching

Simple Search Tips

Video: "Simple Google Search Tips" (Google Help)

Some Basic Facts

  • Every word matters. Generally, all the words you put in the query will be used in the search.
  • Search is not case sensitive. A search for [new york times] is the same as a search for [New York Times].
  • Punctuation is mostly ignored, though there are some exceptions.

Tips for Better Searches

Keep it simple. Many queries won't require advanced operators or unusual syntax.


  • Looking for a particular company: Enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall.
  • Looking for a particular concept, place, or product: Start with its name.
  • Looking for a pizza restaurant: Enter pizza and the name of your town or your zip code.

Consider what terms are likely to appear on the page you're looking for. Search with those words.

  • A search engine is not a human, it is a program that matches the words you give to pages on the web.
  • Examples:
    • ‚ÄčLooking for medical information: Instead of using [my head hurts], use [headache].
    • Answering the question [in what country are bats considered an omen of good luck?]: Though this question is clear to most people, a source that answers the question may not use those words. Instead, search for [bats are considered good luck in] or even just [bats good luck]. These are words that the page will probably include. 

Describe what you need with as few terms as possible.

  • The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results.
  • If you limit the search too much, you will miss a lot of useful information.
  • if you start with fewer keywords and don't get what you need, the results will usually give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results.
    Example: [weather cancun] is likely to give better results than the longer [weather report for cancun mexico].

Choose descriptive words.

  • The more unique the word, the more likely you are to get relevant results.
  • Even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use, it may not match the pages you need.
  • Words that are not very descriptive cna usually be omitted (e.g., 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info').
    Example: [celebrity ringtones] is more descriptive and specific than [celebrity sounds].