Skip to main content OPRFHS Library Home Page

Steffen - Junior Theme Research: Advanced Search Tips on Google

Smart Google Searching

Advanced Searching Tips on Google


Search for an exact word or phrase
"search query"

Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words in a specific order, without normal improvements such as spelling corrections and synonyms. This option is handy when searching for song lyrics or a line from literature. ["imagine all the people"]

Tip: Only use this if you're looking for a very precise word or phrase, because otherwise you could be excluding helpful results by mistake.

Exclude a word

Add a dash (-) before a word to exclude all results that include that word. This is especially useful for synonyms such as Jaguar the car brand and jaguar the animal.
[jaguar speed -car]

Tip: You can also exclude results based on other operators, like excluding all results from a specific site. [pandas]

Include similar words

Normally, synonyms might replace some words in your original query. Add a tilde sign (~) immediately in front of a word to search for that word as well as even more synonyms. [~food facts] includes results for "nutrition facts"

Search within a site or domain
site: query

Include “site:” to search for information within a single website like all mentions of "Olympics" on the New York Times website. [Olympics]

Tip: Also search within a specific top-level domain like .org or .edu or country top-level domain like .de or .jp. [Olympics]

Include a "fill in the blank"
query * query

Use an asterisk (*) within a query as a placeholder for any unknown or “wildcard” terms. Use with quotation marks to find variations of that exact phrase or to remember words in the middle of a phrase. ["a * saved is a * earned"]

Search for either word
query OR query

If you want to search for pages that may have just one of several words, include OR (capitalized) between the words. Without the OR, your results would typically show only pages that match both terms. You can also use the | symbol between words for the same effect. [olympics location 2014 OR 2018]

Tip: Enclose phrases in quotes to search for either one of several phrases.
["world cup 2014" OR "olympics 2014"]

Search for a number range

Separate numbers by two periods (with no spaces) to see results that contain numbers in a given range of things like dates, prices, and measurements. [camera $50..$100]

Tip: Use only one number with the two periods to indicate an upper maximum or a lower minimum. [world cup winners ..2000]