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Google tips

The current search engines have not yet a human intelligence. To get the best results from them, you need to understand their logic and to know some simple tips.
Accueil > google-tips

natural languageAvoid natural language searchs

I would like to find a good restaurant in London is not the ideal way to make such a search. The words “I, “would”, “a” and “in” are too current to be usable in any matter. The words "like", "find" and "good" have not a direct relation with what you are looking for and risk to puzzle the results. A simple "restaurant London" will be more efficient.

questions and answersSeek answers, do not seek questions

How to index my pages? brings back two times less answers than To index your pages. Try to imagine how the writers of the articles formulate their sentences and type a search as close as possible to the answer which you wish to find. This simple tip will have a huge impact on the number of results.

quotesUse the quotes

The quotes enable you to seek an exact expression:
- German car will bring back pages containing sentences as Driving a car to Germany
- “German Car” will only bring back pages including this complete expression as it is. You can cumulate in the same query some expressions with quotes and some other without. For example: “German Car” “with airbags” used . Note the double use of quotes for “German car” and for “with airbag”. This formulation will allow you, for example, to find the pages containing Used german car with airbags.

You can use the * character as a joker in an expression between quotes:
- “* cats and dogs” will bring back the pages containing rain cats and dogs plus those containing proverbial cats and dogs (for example). By using several *, you can search an expression even if you are unaware of several words. Use one * for each missing word:
-"rain ** dogs" will bring back the pages containing rain cats and dogs.

minusUse the minus sign (-)

The sign - allows you to eliminate some undesirable results:
Romeo -Juliette -juliet will bring back all the pages containing Romeo except those containing Romeo and Juliette or Romeo and Juliet

Caution! the sign - must be stuck to the word which you wish to withdraw from the results.
Note: I have personally nothing against Juliet

more wordsType at least 3 words

70% of daily used search expressions contain 1 or 2 key words. This kind of query is rarely efficient. 3 words allow you to define at the same time the research, the context and the subcontext

- Tennis competition results will bring back a very more precise answer than tennis results

Your query must be built as in this example:
- Tennis defines context. You should eventually be more precise by typing tennis sport in order to eliminate the tennis shoes from the results
- Competition defines a subcontext (the context is refined)
- Results defines the search itself.

If you are hesitating about the context and the subcontext, simply ask you the question “of what?” : Results of what? Competition of what?

similaritiesSeek synonyms with the ~ sign

This sign (called "tilde") allows you to include all the synonyms of the searched word into the results.
~house will find pages including the words house and home.

Caution: ~ the sign must be stuck to the word of which you want to get the synonyms. In a similar target, you can use the | sign which corresponds to or
- “veteran|soldier of the vietnam” will enable you to find all the pages containing veteran of the vietnam or soldier of the vietnam. This tip is extremely useful when your query includes words whith uncertain orthography:
- zhorse|zorse|zebrulevous allows you to find all the pages talking about this strange animal resulting from the cross of a zebra and a horse.

suffixeSeek a particular file type

It is sometimes usefull to restrict the results to a particular type of document. It is possible to seek flash animations, Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, as well as other particular filte types. To restrict your research, just add the filetype: command followed by the extension of the type of files to seek. Here are the types of files which you can specify:


Adobe Portable Document Format





wk1, wk2, wk3, wk4, wk5, wki, wks, wku

Lotus 1-2-3


Lotus WordPro




Microsoft Write






Rich Text Format





wks, wps, wbd


Example : filetype:doc (please note that there is no space before and after the 2 points : )


See also: The Google search operators

You can also consult the Googleguide
or the official Google Help

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