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Google Search Rules

  • Search queries are case insensitive.  Punctuation and special characters are generally ignored, with a few exception. 
    • For example, "canon $300" the $ (dollar sign) is not ignored, or "speed_limit" the _ (underscore) is not ignored,
  • Use descriptive (e.g.: 'headache' vs. 'head hurts') and specific (e.g.: 'music ringtones' vs. 'music sounds') words.
  • The order of the words being searched is important. The most important word should be first, followed by the next most important word.
  • Google automatically ignores common words like ‘I’, ‘a’, etc.. (known as 'stop words').
    • Note: To include these words in the search results put the (+) plus operator in front of them.
  • Google automatically searches for different word variations by using synonyms. 
    • Note: To prevent synonyms of words being returned in the search results put the (+) plus operator in front of them.
  • To search for an exact phrase, include the search words in ““ (quotes).
    • For example: ‘ “American history”
  • To exclude certain words from the search results put a (-) minus sign in front of the word.
    • For example: “American history -England”
  • The following operators provide more flexible searching:
    • The OR operator tells the results to search for one word or another. It is possible to use the “|” (pipe) as a shortcut for the OR operator.
      • For example: “Apple OR Windows"
      • Note: The OR operator must be in all caps or it will be ignored.
    • The asterisk (*) acts as a wild-card word when searching for phrases.
      • For example: “To be * to be"
      • Note: The * operator works only on whole words, and not parts of words.
  • Parentheses ‘()’ can be included in the search queries to make them more readable, but have little affect on the returned results.
  • The AROUND(n) operator is useful for finding a combination of search terms when one result dominates the other, but you're interested in the relationship between two queried terms. The number in the parentheses sets the max distance between the two terms.
    • For example: "America AROUND(2) China"
    • Note: For this operator to work it must be typed in all caps.
  • The tilde (~) operator to allow you search for synonyms.
    • For example, if you were searching for "~cheap backpacking gear". The returned results would contain words such as: ‘inexpensive’, ‘budget’ to ‘low cost’

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