Google Search Tips

If you ever get stuck on a Google search, use these Google search tips to discover the information you're looking for.

Advanced search strategies

Contrary to what you might think, advanced search strategies aren't just for advanced users. They're for everyone, whether you have a lot of experience with Google or just a little. The only tool you need is Google's Advanced Search page. You can access it from the results page by clicking Settings.

If you've never seen the Advanced Search page, you may be surprised by some of the things you can do. For example, you can narrow your results by language or reading level. You can also limit your search results to pages that have a certain domain, such as .gov or .edu.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the Advanced Search page.

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Still can't find what you're looking for?

Sometimes it's not enough to know all the basic and advanced search strategies. If you still can't find what you're looking for, you may need to try different search terms—and this time, really use your critical thinking skills. Let's take a look at some examples.

Example 1

Let's say you're looking for a place where you could adopt a dog. What words do you think OTHER people would use to describe this? Maybe shelter? Or rescue? You could even search for an adoption center by name (for example, humane society).

The truth is, shelter and rescue are pretty common terms, both in popular culture and among people in the pet adoption community. This means they're more likely to appear on a webpage than place to adopt a dog. Notice how that sounds slightly less official?

If you know the popular term for the information you're looking for, search for it instead. If you don't know the popular term, look closely at your original search results to see what you can find. If you notice any keywords that appear more frequently than others, it might be a clue.

Example 2

In certain parts of the country, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. If you're a leaf peeper—someone who's willing to travel in order to view or photograph fall foliage—you need to know when the leaves are going to be at their most colorful.

Of course, you could search for fall foliage forecast. But this may not produce the most comprehensive results. This is because there are so many other words you could use to describe what you're looking for. For example:

In short, try a few synonyms if your original search terms were unsuccessful. You may need to experiment with different combinations and then compare the results to figure out which keywords work best. You can also use advanced search strategies to search for multiple terms (for example, fall OR autumn).

Again, if you don't know any synonyms, look at your original results. Review some of the language used there to see whether they give you any ideas.