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Google Search Tips

Before you search...

  • Determine your topic or what information you are looking for
  • Choose as many descriptive search terms or keywords as you can
    • Developing a list of keywords is a good practice for any research project. 
    • Too few words may give poor results
    • Select nouns and avoid words ignored by search engines, also called stop words
  • Explore your Search Settings to set your Google preferences
    • Setting a safe search filter, number of results per page, view or edit your search history
  • Learn to use the Google Toolbar to set up personal settings like bookmarks for your favorite pages

Google search conventions...

  • Google ignores most punctuation and symbols except
    • Dollar sign when used to indicate price
      • Fiat car $500 gives different results than Fiat car 500
    • Hyphen when used to connect words. 
      • in-take forms
    • Symbols used to convey meaning 
      • programming languages :C++
      • musical terms: G#
    • Symbols used in social media
      • Use hanshtags (#) in front of a word: #throwbackthursday
      • Use at symbols (@) in front of a word: @twitter
  • ​​Searches are not case sensitive
    • Keywords or search terms can be entered in lower or UPPER case or a coMBinatiON
    • Exception: Boolean operator OR must be in all caps 
      • ​Learn more about Boolean operators
      • Example: To find tacos in multiple cities search:
        • Tacos Chicago OR Austin
  • ​​​Word order matters 
    • Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, the second slightly more than the third, etc. 
  • Google uses automatic word stemming
    • Google searches for all possible word variations
      • Diet returns results for diets dieting dietary