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Google Searching

  • Advanced Search--To access Advanced Search, enter a search and click the gear icon on the right side of the results page or you can Google advanced search and it will be the first result. 
  • Word Order Matters-- Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, the second slightly higher than the third, etc. 
    • Music Math returns slightly different results than Math Music
  • Google uses automatic word stemming
    • ​Google searches for all possible word variations (i.e.,diet, diets, dieting, dietary)
  • Use words that are most likely to appear on the page
    • Instead of saying "my head hurts" use "headache" as that is the term a medical page will use.
    • Keep it simple. Instead of "in what countries are bats an omen of good luck" use "bats good luck"
    • Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word, the more likely you are to get relevant results.

Google Search Tips

Operator Description Examples
" "

Exact Phrase Search

  • Search for words in exact order

"Business Plan"

"prairie dog"

"Chicago fire"


Include word(s) in the results

  • Add a plus sign before the word or phrase to include
  • A space must be placed before the plus sign but not after it

"forest fire" +Flagstaff

"Chicago fire" +soccer

Picasso +Guernica


Exclude word(s) in results

  • Add a minus sign before a word or phrase to exclude
  • A space must be placed before the minus sign but not after it.

"forest fire" -pine

"Chicago fire" -soccer 

Mozart -sonatas



  • Searches for a specified keyword and words that are similar to that word


Returns Results

  • neurophysiology
  • neurobiology
  • brain
  • neurology

Broaden your search to include different terms

  • OR must be capitalized 

soccer OR football OR futbal

"Grand Canyon" OR Yosemite 




Restrict search to a particular domain or website

  • Search top level domains such as .edu, .org, .gov
  • Search specific websites

"forest fires"


veteran programs


Restrict your search to a specific file type

  • There is no space between filetype: and the following word

"global warming" filetype:pdf



Searches for a single word or phrase in the title of the search result

  • Google will restrict the results to pages that have the word or phrase in the title of the document

Find information about the use of robots in the production of Toyota vehicles.

assembly line robots intitle:toyota


Searches for words that are within a certain range of other words

  • Must capitalize AROUND(n) and add a number in parentheses for this to work.

"steve jobs" AROUND(3) environment

"climate change" AROUND(4) "polar bears" 


Find pages related to a specific site

  • No space between the colon and the web address.


Adapted from MIT Libraries, Google Search Tips: Getting Started