Google Search Tips

Google Search Tips

Search a Phrase

Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase. A normal search may produce results that change the order of your search terms.

For example, if you search for 'dog toy', you may get results for toy dogs.

To avoid this, search for "dog toy" in quotation marks. This will search the phrase and provide you with more accurate results.

Remove Words from Search

Sometimes your search will provide results that are not relevant to what you are looking for. You can remove search terms with a hyphen to prevent this.

For example, if you search "Michael Jordan," your results will primarily be about the former basketball player. To exclude basketball-related results, search "Michael Jordan -NBA -basketball."

Search a Site

You may want to search a topic on a particular site. To do this, search "site:" followed by the name of the site you want to search.

Example: "WWII" to search for World War II articles.

Search Two Terms Together

Searching for “apple orange” can return results for either apples or oranges. If you want results that include both terms, search “apple AND orange.”

Search for Files by Type

You can search for a specific file type by using “filetype:(Type of file you want).”

For example, to find a PDF of a biology textbook, search “filetype:pdf biology textbook.”

To find a website similar to another site, search “related:(sitename).”

For example, to find a website like, search “”

Use a Wildcard

If you cannot remember parts of a phrase, use an asterisk symbol (*) in place of the word you do not remember.

For example, to search the phrase “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” but you forgot the word “but,” search “we have nothing to fear * fear itself.”

Search for a Definition

To find the definition of a word, search “define:(word you want to define).”

For example, to search the definition of chloroplast, search “define:chloroplast.”