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Advanced Google Searching


Basic Search Operators

Exact phrase search  - Use inverted commas around your search term:

Eg “Climate Change”.
What does this do?: Finds the exact phrase, not the individual words. Gets less articles, but more precise


Similar terms - Use the "~" symbol to return similar terms.

Eg ~plane
What does this do?: Searches for terms with similiar meaning, in this case - aircraft, flight, jet, etc.  

OR  - Put Or between you key words

Eg "Employment law" OR "labour law"
What does this do?: Wider search - looks for articles that have either one phrase in them or the other. Search for one word or another, will give you larger amount of articles.

AND Google defaults to an AND search so it isn't usually necessary to include the term AND in your searches.  

- (Minus sign - acts as NOT) Put the minus sign before the word you want to exclude

Use the minus sign if you want to exclude a word,
eg. "law reform commission" –victoria
eg. Carlton - AFL
What does this do?: Gets rid of irrelevant hits, makes articles retrieved less, but more on topic

Wildcard  - The "*" symbol is a wildcard. This is useful if you're trying to find a phrase, but don't know a particular term in that phrase.

Eg Senate voted against the * bill.

What does this do?: If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown terms. It then tries to find the best matches. So in the example it would find Senate voted against the crime bill or Senate voted against the new bill.

Search web pages with a specific domain extension  - Type Site: and then the sector domain

Eg site:edu

What does this do?:Search within certain types of web site, by sector domain. You can use this to search by domain within education sector (.edu) websites, or any of the Government (.gov), information (.info) commercial (.com) or any other sector websites. Just type site and a semi colon, and then the domain country code

See Advanced search or GoogleGuide reference sheet for more features.


Advanced Search Operators

Note: Google periodically "kills" search operators. This list is current as at October, 2020. It is updated regularly.


Type of search



Just searches for titles that have the search words. Good if you are getting too many results. Searches the title only.
eg: Allintitle:human rights Ukraine


limits searches to a particular site or domain. 



 If you include location: in your query on Google News, only articles from the location you specify will be returned.

eg.  queen location:canada  will show articles that match the term “queen” from sites in Canada.



Search terms appear in proximity to each other. A search on privacy AROUND(5) "social media" will pick up the terms privacy and “social media” within five words of each other. 
eg. privacy AROUND(5) "social media"


Allows the choice of a specific source in Google News

eg.Scott Morrison source:the age


Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.


Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.


If you are looking for just the definition of the word,
eg. Define stoicism


Use this to specify the file type you are looking for, or the file extension such as .txt .psd

eg. filetype:pdf “wireless set up”



every word in the query has to be in the body text of a page. Very useful to find quotes.

eg.  allintext:i have a dream