Searching Google Effectively

Tips and Tricks for Using Operators

What is an Operator?

Operators are search terms that can be used to target specific results within a search engine or database. When searching Google, it is far more effective to use operators than to ask a question or enter generic search terms.

1. Site

When to use it: When you are looking for results within a specific site or type of site.


Example 1: Your teacher will not accept sources with a .com suffix in the domain name. You may use .edu, .org, or .gov sites.


How to Google It:

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Example 2. You are looking for an article about immigration in the Bradenton Herald.


How to Google It:

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2. Quotation Marks

When to use them: When you are searching for an exact phrase and not each of your keywords separately.


Example: You are researching the relationship between crime rates and illegal immigration.


How to Google It:

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3. Filetype

When to use it: When you are searching for a specific type of file (pdf, doc, jpg, etc.)


Example: You are searching for a report on the correlation between crime rates and illegal immigration


How to Google It:

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4. Minus Sign

When to use it: When you want to exclude a term from your search.


Example: You are looking for general information on tests, but not IQ tests.


How to Google It:

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5. In Title

When to Use It: When you are searching only for results with your keywords in the title. You can use inurl the same way.


Example: You are searching for a webpage or article with your school name in the title, and not just the text.


How to Google It:

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Asterisk (*)

When to use it: When you need a "wildcard" to stand as a placeholder for unknown or multiple terms. This adds greater flexibility to your search terms and will expand your search results.



Example 1: diet* (searches for: dietary, dietitian, diets, etc.)

Example 2: *finch (searches for all common terms preceding "finch," such as Atticus Finch, goldfinch, house finch, etc.)