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Part I: Query Input

The more you know about how Google works, its features, its capabilities, and how it displays results, the better it can serve your needs. A query is the request you send to Google. This part of Google Guide explains how to write a query that will help you find just what you want.

Entering a Query

If you have little or no experience with Google, read on. Otherwise, skip ahead to Going Directly to the 1st Result.
If your browser isn’t pointing to Google, visit Google’s home page by entering one of the following web addresses into your browser:

http://www.google.com/ (the full web address for Google)
www.google.com (a common abbreviation for Google’s web address)
google.com […]

...read all of: Entering a Query

This page was last modified on: Monday August 11, 2008

Going Directly to the First Result

Click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button on Google’s home page to go directly to the first result for your query. Instead of showing you a list of pages, Google sends you immediately to the result that may be most relevant to your query. For example, if you enter the query [ california driving ] (without the […]

...read all of: Going Directly to the First Result

This page was last modified on: Tuesday March 13, 2007

Selecting Search Terms

The search terms you enter and the order in which you enter them affect both the order and pages that appear in your search results. In the examples below, click on the similar ways of specifying various searches and note how the results differ.
For simplicity sake, this tutorial uses square brackets to denote Google’s search […]

...read all of: Selecting Search Terms

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

Interpreting Your Query

Understanding how Google treats your search terms will help you devise effective queries and revise ineffective ones.
1. All Search Terms Count

Google returns only pages that match all your search terms.

A search for [ compact fold-up bicycle ] finds pages containing the words “compact” and “fold-up” and “bicycle.” Because you don’t need to include the word AND between your […]

...read all of: Interpreting Your Query

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

Crafting Your Query by using Special Characters

By using special characters and operators, such as " ", –, ~, .., *, OR, and quotation marks around a phrase, you can fine-tune your search query and increase the accuracy of its results.
For details, click an operator above or look in the following seven pages:

Quoted Phrases
Quotation Marks Replace the + Operator
The – Operator
The ~ Operator
The […]

...read all of: Crafting Your Query by using Special Characters

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

Quoted Phrases

To search for a phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order, put them in double quotes.

A query with terms in quotes finds pages containing the exact quoted phrase. For example, [ “Larry Page“ ] finds pages containing the phrase “Larry Page” exactly. So this query would find pages mentioning Google’s co-founder […]

...read all of: Quoted Phrases

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

Quotation Marks Replace the + Operator

Google elimiated the + operator in October 2011 and expanded the capabilities of the quotation marks (” ”) operator. In addition to using this operator to search for an exact phrase, you can now add quotation marks around a single word to tell Google to match that word precisely. So, if in the past you would […]

...read all of: Quotation Marks Replace the + Operator

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

The - Operator

Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a “–” sign.

To find pages without a particular term, put a – sign operator in front of the word in the query. The – sign indicates that you want to subtract or exclude pages that contain a specific term. Do not put […]

...read all of: The - Operator

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

The ~ Operator

Find synonyms by preceding the term with a ~, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator.

The tilde (~) operator takes the word immediately following it and searches both for that specific word and for the word’s synonyms. It also searches for the term with alternative endings. The tilde operator works best when applied […]

...read all of: The ~ Operator

This page was last modified on: Sunday December 16, 2012

The OR and | Operators

Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar).

The OR operator, for which you may also use | (vertical bar), applies to the search terms immediately adjacent to it. The first and second examples will find pages that include either “Tahiti” or “Hawaii” or both terms, but not pages that contain […]

...read all of: The OR and | Operators

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

The .. Operator

Specify that results contain numbers in a range by specifying two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces.

For example, specify that you are searching in the price range $250 to $1000 using the number range specification $250..$1000.

[ recumbent bicycle $250..$1000 ]

Find the year the Russian Revolution took place.

[ Russian Revolution 1800..2000 ]

tags (keywords): fine tune, narrowing search, numbers, […]

...read all of: The .. Operator

This page was last modified on: Thursday July 12, 2007

The * Operator

Use *, an asterisk character, known as a wildcard, to match one or more words in a phrase (enclosed in quotes).

Each * represents just one or more words. Google treats the * as a placeholder for a word or more than one word. For example, [ “Google * my life“ ] tells Google to find pages containing […]

...read all of: The * Operator

This page was last modified on: Friday July 20, 2007

Special Characters: Summary

This table summarizes how to use the basic search operators described in this chapter. You may include any of these operators multiple times in a query.

Notation
Find result
Example

term1 term2
with both term1 and term2
[ carry-on luggage ]

term1 OR term2 term1 | term2
with either term1 or term2 or both

[ Tahiti OR Hawaii ]
[ Tahiti | Hawaii ]

"term"
with term (Put quotation marks around terms that are stop words […]

...read all of: Special Characters: Summary

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

Advanced Search Form

When you don’t find what you’re seeking, consider specifying more precisely what you want by using Google’s Advanced Search feature. Don’t be frightened by the name “Advanced Search”; it’s easy to use, and it allows you to select or exclude pages with more precision than Google’s standard search box. Click on the Advanced Search link […]

...read all of: Advanced Search Form

This page was last modified on: Sunday August 10, 2008

Other Search Forms

11. Alerts
Once you’ve refined your Advanced Search, you can watch for changes in the top 20 results by setting up Google Alerts. Google will find and deliver links to new web pages once a week, once a day, or as soon as Google finds them. Simply copy and paste your advanced search query into the search […]

...read all of: Other Search Forms

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

Refining a Query

Refining a query means changing or adding to the set of search terms to do a better job of returning the pages you’re seeking. Successful researchers frequently enter several queries to find what they’re seeking.
The search boxes at the top and bottom of the results page show the query for the current results page. If […]

...read all of: Refining a Query

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

Anatomy of a Web Address

If you already know how to read a web address or URL (Universal Resource Locator, pronounced “you are ell”), skip this section. Otherwise, consider the web address http://www.googleguide.com/searchEngines/google/searchLeader.html. Here’s what it all means:

http
transfer protocol (type of information being transferred)

www.googleguide.com
website name, host name

googleguide
second-level domain name

com
top-level domain name

searchEngines
directory name (major category)

google
sub-directory name (sub-category)

searchLeader
file name (a file within the directory)

html
file format

Here’s a list […]

...read all of: Anatomy of a Web Address

This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

Using Search Operators

You can use most of the options we discussed in Google’s Advanced Search Form in a regular search box query. If you’re a frequent searcher or a “power searcher,” this can save time because you don’t need to open the Advanced Search page and fill in various boxes; instead, you can enter the refined query […]

...read all of: Using Search Operators

This page was last modified on: Sunday August 24, 2008

Search Operators

The following table lists the search operators that work with each Google search service. Click on an operator to jump to its description — or, to read about all of the operators, simply scroll down and read all of this page.

Search Service
Search Operators

Web Search
allinanchor:, allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, cache:, define:, filetype:, id:, inanchor:, info:, intext:, intitle:, […]

...read all of: Search Operators

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012



For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

Creative Commons

By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.

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