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Advanced Google Search

Become a power searcher; learn search strategies, tools and tips.

Guiding Principles

Google became synonymous with web searching. It is famous for its simple search box, but Google also has more sophisticated tools for a power searcher.

This guide is created with a business student in mind, but may be used by anyone. Our focus is not on simple fact finding, but on locating information relevant in the business context, e.g. market research reports, industry and company data, statistics, and more.


  • Google constantly changes: search features are dropped and added, sometimes without a warning.
  • Google search functionality may differ depending on:
    • a browser you are using
    • whether you are logged into your Google account.
  • Word order matters.
  • Filter: run a broad search and use filtering options in the menus or headers to narrow down.
  • Harvest keywords: look for relevant keywords in your results to use for further searching.
  • Google hints: use auto-suggested searches.
  • Use relevant search terms for what you need to find:
    • statistics, market research reports, market size, market share, market trends, standard
  • Use Verbatim Search if you search for the exact phrase and don't want Google to make suggestions (run a search > Search Tools > More > Verbatim)
  • For your eyes only: be aware that Google personalizes your searches based on your search history, so consider customizing your account settings to search and browse privately.

Operators & Symbols

Get more focused results from your search box with these selected operators:

" " 

search keywords next to each other as a phrase, e.g. "food truck" 

* a  wildcard or a placeholder, e.g. "market * report" 

use the dash to exclude (no space after -), e.g. moon landing -hoax -site:.com 


number range (no spaces), e.g. "2000..2010"

..2000 dates or numbers less than / before 2000

2000.. dates or numbers greater than / after 2000


search one or another keyword, e.g. "Latin America" OR "South America"


limit your search to a specific site (no space after :), e.g. "food trucks" site:sanantonio.gov  site:.gov (for government sites only)

filetype: limit your search to files with specific extensions, such as PDFs, PPT, etc,  e.g. "food trucks" site:santonio.gov filetype:pdf 

the term appears in URL


the term appears in the title of the webpage

AROUND(#) search terms within # words of each other (proximity), e.g. defibrillator AROUND(5) law 

Advanced Google Search Tips