The Basics of Google Search
Search is simple: just type whatever
comes to mind in the search box, hit Enter or click
the Search button, and Google will search the web
for content that's relevant to your search. If you have
Google Instant [http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861] enabled, results may appear dynamically as you
Most of the time, you'll find exactly
what you're looking for with just a basic query (the word or phrase
you search for). However, the following tips can help you make the
most of your searches. Throughout the article, we'll use square
brackets [ ] to signal a search query, so [black
and white] is one query, while [black]
and [white] are two separate
Some basic facts:
- Every word matters. Generally,
all the words you put in the query will be used.
- Search is always case
insensitive. A search for [new york
times] is the same as a search for [New
- Generally, punctuation is
ignored, including @#$%^&*()=+\ and other special characters.
To make sure that your Google searches return the most relevant
results, there are some
exceptions to the rules above.
Tips for better searches:
- Keep it simple.
If you're looking for a particular company, just enter its name,
or as much of its name as you can recall. If you're looking for
a particular concept, place, or product, start with its name. If
you're looking for a pizza restaurant, just enter pizza and the
name of your town or your zip code. Most queries do not require
advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.
- Think how the page you
are looking for will be written. A search engine is not
a human, it is a program that matches the words you give to
pages on the web. Use the words that are most likely to
appear on the page. For example, instead of saying
[my head hurts], say
that's the term a medical page will use. The query [in
what country are bats considered an omen of good luck?]
is very clear to a person, but the document that gives the
answer may not have those words. Instead, use the query [bats
are considered good luck in] or even just [bats
good luck], because that is probably what the
right page will say.
- 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 too much, you
will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to
starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you
need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what
additional words are needed to refine your results on the next
search. For example, [weather cancun]
is a simple way to find the weather and it is likely to give
better results than the longer [weather
report for cancun mexico].
- Choose descriptive
words. The more unique the word is the more likely you
are to get relevant results. Words that are not very
descriptive, like 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info,'
are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that 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. For example, [celebrity
ringtones] is more descriptive and specific than
more search tips at