Advanced Google Searches

You have probably used the Google search engine before, google.com. It's actually a great idea to install the Google Toolbar if you are using Internet Explorer - that way you can always have the Google searchbox accessible to you when you are browsing the web.

Even if you decide to have Google.com as your homepage, there are still all kinds of reasons to install the Google Toolbar, such as its excellent pop-up blocker (which is extremely good at figuring out which pop-ups are legit, and which are intrusions - and it's also very easy to override the blocker if it does block something you want to see).

You can install the Google Toolbar from the Google tools page - and be able to instantly search Google from any open browser window: Install Google Toolbar.

There are some great Google Search options that you might not have tried before. For example, you can use Google as a calculator! You can also enter a zipcode as part of your search; enter something like "bookstore 53538" and see what you get.

You can also use the operator "define:" in your search to have Google search for definitions. Enter a phrase like "define:plagiarism" (with no space between define: and the word you want defined) and see the results that come up.

It's also a good idea to learn some Advanced Google Search techniques so that you can find the web resources you are looking, and do so as quickly and effectively as possible. To begin, you can click on the "Advanced Search" link to the right of the Google search box:

The next screen you see will allow you to specify all kinds of parameters that will be useful in your searching. One of the most important things you can do is to specify whether Google will look for an exact phrase or not. You can also exclude words from your searches, limit your search to a specific site, among many other choices. If you take some time to look at the many options that are available to you here, you will save lots of time in your Internet searches!

There are also some ways you can use the Advanced Search features based on how you type your search into the main search box at Google to begin with. Here are some of those Google search shortcuts:

  • Exact phrase. If you know that you want Google to search on an exact phrase, just put the phrase into quotation marks.
  • Excluded word. You can exclude a word by placing a minus sign in front of it.
  • Site specific searches. It is very often helpful to limit your search to a specific site. For example, if you want to limit your site to the websites of educational institutions only, you can add the term site:edu to your search. If you want to limit your search to the UWW website, you can add the term site:uww.edu.

    Compare the results of these searches to see the difference:
      • Enter a phrase like "women's sports "
      • Enter a phrase like "women's sports " site:uww.edu

Finally, if you get your search results and realize there is way more than you can handle, you can Search Within Results by choosing that option down at the bottom of the search results page. Just click on the "Search Within Results" link and you will be taken to a page that allows you to add additional terms to your search.

This document was adapted from materials created by the University of Oklahoma.