Search Strategies - Selected Google Commands


PDF Version

Command What it does Example
" " Double quote marks around terms to search for a phrase . (Google sometimes ignores quote marks). "carbon emissions" looks for carbon immediately followed by emissions

The plus sign is no longer available in web search for forcing an exact match search. Use intext: before single words or place the terms within double quotes. Use the Verbatim option in the Tools link above your results to force an exact match on all of your terms. (Tools, All results, Verbatim). The plus sign can still be used in Google Scholar, though. Simply add the + sign to the front of your term (no spaces).

north sea +norne oil field [Note: only works in Google Scholar]
- Minus sign before a term excludes pages containing that term. It can also be used before commands, for example to exclude a particular site or domain from a search. zeolites
OR Use OR to specify alternative terms. OR must be in capital letters. fracking OR “hydraulic fracturing”
* Use the asterisk to stand in for 1 to 5 terms between two words. Useful when you are not sure of the industry jargon and for identifying additional search terms and phrases. solar * panels finds solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar electricity panels, solar water heating panels
.. Numeric range search. This can be used with numbers of any kind for example years, temperatures, weights, prices, distances. Separate the two values in your search by two full stops (no spaces). See also numrange: TV advertising spend forecast 2019..2025
cache: cache: followed by the URL of a page displays Google's cached version of a web page instead of the current version of the page.

Finds definitions and synonyms of words. Also provides information on the origin of a word, use over time and translations. (No colon is required after ‘define').

define dialectic
filetype: Restricts your results to the specified file format. zeolites environmental remediation filetype:pdf
intext: Word must be in the text of the page and match exactly your term. Very useful now that Google no longer gives you pages containing all of your search terms and automatically runs synonym searches public transport netherlands intext:”renewable energy”
intitle: Searches for pages that have the term or phrase immediately following intitle: in the title of the page. Other terms can be anywhere in the document. Use allintitle: if you want all of your terms to appear in the title statistics intitle:"diabetic retinopathy"
inurl: Searches for pages that have the term or phrase following inurl: in the URL. Other terms can be anywhere in the document. Use allinurl: if you want all of your terms to appear in the URL inurl:coffee UK consumption
numrange: The original version of numeric range search but still works. TV advertising spend forecast numrange:2019-2025
related: Finds pages that are similar in content and from similar organisations. related:
site: Restricts your search to the specified site or domain.

car ownership statistics

Verbatim Not a command but a search option that can be applied to your results. Stops Google looking for synonyms and variations on your terms. It should also stop Google dropping terms from your search but it does not always work. On a desktop/laptop, run your search and from the options across the top of the results page select ‘Tools'. From the second row of options that should appear select ‘All results' followed by Verbatim. In some browsers you may see ‘Search tools' instead of “Tools”. The location of Verbatim on mobile devices varies.