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Entering Queries - Selecting Search Terms - Interpreting Queries - Crafting Queries - Google's Advanced Search Form - More on Sharpening Queries - Using Search Operators (Advanced)
|Interpreting Your Query|
Understanding how Google treats your search terms will help you devise effective queries and revise ineffective ones.
Google returns only pages that match all your search terms.
Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms.
A search for [ hank aaron baseball ] finds pages containing the words "hank" and "aaron"and "baseball." Because you don't need to include the word AND between your terms, this notation is called an implicit AND.
Because of implicit AND, you can focus your query by adding more terms: [ hank aaron baseball home run ]
Note: If you want pages containing any (instead of all) of your search terms, use the OR operator, which is described in the next section Crafting Your Query.
Google doesn't find synomyms for your search terms.
The query [ child bicycle helmet ] finds pages that contain words that are similar to some or all of your search terms, e.g., "child," "children," or "children's," "bicycle" "bicycles," "bicycle's," "bicycling," or "bicyclists," and "helmet" or "helmets." Google calls this feature word variations or automatic stemming. Stemming is a technique to search on the stem or root of a word that can have multiple endings.
If you only want to search for pages that contain some term(s) exactly, precede each such term with a plus sign (+) or enclose more than one term in quotes (" "). If you enclose a single term in quotes, Google ignores the quotes.
However, without special action on your part (described in the next lesson, Crafting Queries,
Google only returns pages that match your search terms (or stems of those search terms) exactly. For example:Note: When you want synonyms or variants that Google doesn't find, consider using either the OR or tilde operator, which is described in the next section Crafting Your Query.
If you search for ... Google won't find ... cheap inexpensive tv television effects influences children kids car automobile Calif OR CA California NYC New York City
Google ignores some common words called "stop words," e.g., the, on, where, how, de, la, as well as certain single digits and single letters.
Google limits queries to 32 words.
Stop words tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a stop word has been excluded on the results page below the search box.
[ lyrics to the Dixie Chicks' songs ]
Note: Use the + operator or enclose more than one term in quotes (" ") to force Google to include terms it would otherwise ignore. These basic operators and others are described in the next section, Crafting Your Query.
Here's another example. Google ignores most of the words in the following query, which come from a WWII speech by Winston Churchill:
[ Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning ]
Google favors results that have your search terms near each other.
Google will indicate in a message below the query box at the top of the page if your query exceeds the 10-word limit.
Google gives higher priority to pages that have the terms in the same order as in your query.
Google considers the proximity of your search terms within a page. So the query [ snake grass ] finds pages about a plant of that name, while [ snake in the grass ] tends to emphasize pages about sneaky people. Although Google ignores the words "in" and "the," (these are stop words), Google gives higher priority to pages in which "snake" and "grass" are separated by two words.
Note: The description of a wildcard in the section Craft Your Query may help you to understand how Google interprets queries containing words that it ignores.
Consequently, you should enter search terms in the order in which you would expect to find them on the pages you're seeking. A search for [ New York library ] gives priority to pages about New York's libraries. While the query [ New library York ] gives priority to pages about the new libraries in York.Google is NOT case sensitive; it assumes all search terms are lowercase.
A search for [ Red Cross ] finds pages containing "Red Cross," "red cross," or "RED CROSS.". [ Red Cross ], [ red cross ], and [ RED CROSS ] return the same resultsGoogle ignores some punctuation and special characters, including . ; ? [ ] ( ) @ / # .
There is no way to instruct Google to pay attention to case distinctions, e.g., you can't tell Google to find only occurrences of "Red Cross" where the first letter of each word is capitalized.
Note: The words "OR" and "AND" have special meanings if entered in uppercase letters.
Because punctuation is typically not as important as the text around it, Google ignores most punctuation in your search terms. For example, [ Dr. Ruth ] returns the same results as [ Dr Ruth ]A term with an apostrophe (single quotes) doesn't match the term without an apostrophe.
If you're seeking information that includes punctuation that Google ignores, e.g., an email address, Just enter the whole thing including the punctuation. For example, [ email@example.com ]
Note: mathematical symbols, such as /,*, (, and ), are not ignored by Google's calculator.
Now we'll look at some special characters that Google doesn't ignore.
A query with the term "we're" returns different results from a query with the term "were."A term with an accent doesn't match the same term without the accent.
[ we're ] matches "we're" but not "were"
[ were ] matches "were" but not "we're"
[ Schröder ] matches "Schröder" but not "Schroder".Because some people spell hyphenated words with a hyphen and others with a space, Google searches for variations on any hyphenated terms.
[ Schroder ] matches both "Schroder" and Schröder".
[ mañana ] matches "mañana" but not "manana"
[ manana ] matches both "manana" and "mañana"
When Google encounters a hyphen (-) in a query term, it searches for all of the following:The following table summarizes what we've covered in this lesson on how Google interprets your query
- the term with the hyphen, e.g., part-time
- the term without the hyphen, e.g., parttime
- the term with the hyphen replaced by a space, e.g., part time
[ part-time :] matches "part-time," "part time," and "parttime"
[ part time ] matches "part-time" and "part time"
[ parttime ] matches only "parttime".
If you aren't sure whether a word is hyphenated, it is best to search for it with a hyphen.
Search Behaviors Descriptions Implicit AND Google returns pages that match all your search terms. Because you don't need to include the logical operator AND between your terms, this notation is called an implicit AND. Exact Matching Google returns pages that match your search terms exactly. Word Variation
Automatic Stemming Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms. Common-Word Exclusion Google ignores some common words called "stop words," e.g., the, on, where, and how. Stop words tend to slow down searches without improving results. 10-Word Limit Google limits queries to 10 words. Term Proximity Google gives more priority to pages that have search terms near to each other. Term Order Google gives more priority to pages that have search terms in the same order as the query. Case Insensitivity Google is case-insensitive; it assumes all search terms are lowercase. Ignoring Punctuation Google ignores most punctuation and special characters including . ; ? [ ] ( ) @ / # Accented Letters A term without an accent matches a term with an accent but not vice versa.
For more information on the basics of Google search, visit www.google.com/help/basics.html.
These problems are intended to help you understand how Google interprets your search terms. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.
|[ non-profit ]||non-profit||non profit||nonprofit|
|[ non profit ]||non-profit||non profit||nonprofit|
|[ nonprofit ]||non-profit||non profit||nonprofit|
|[ discounted designer linens ]|
|[ discount designer linen ]|
|[ designer linen discount ]|
|[ linen designer discount ]|
|[ linen discounted design ]|