Tricks & Tips

Everyone knows the basics of using Google, but to really unlock the potential and get the most out of your searches, it helps to know some of the specifics of how it works. We will show here how to do it in the context of a "people search".

What to enter into Google
Enter This
To Get These Results
John Smith
John Smith Carpenter
Mr. John Smith

(No quotation marks)
John Smith
Smith John
John William Smith
John Jones, Will Smith, etc.
John the blacksmith
Smith, John
Taylor-Smith, John
Smith, John
John Smith
John Jones, William Smith, Peter Fay

(Space in front of 'T' and after 'R')
TR Jones, Jones TR

(No space in front of T or after R)
TR Jones
Jones, Trenton
Joe Smith
Biloxi, MI


The big cat and not the car! The search will eliminate results which contain the word auto OR car.

Boolean Search Techniques

(Boolean Operators)

  • AND: retrieves both keywords
  • OR: retrieves either keyword
  • NOT: excludes a keyword (use only at the end of a search string)
  • NEAR: will find documents that have the words in close proximity to each other, i.e. within 20 words
  • “ ”: retrieves only exactly what is enclosed in quotes. This is useful for finding people as shown by the examples in the table above. It is also important to note that when you are searching for an abbreviation, include a SPACE BEFORE AND AFTER THE ABBREVIATION!!!
  • *: This is called a wildcard (just the asterisk) and it will retrieve anything after the asterisk.

Boolean Operators on Different Search Engines

Different search engines view Boolean operators differently

Google is not the only search engine. You can often find different results on different search engines. There are over a hundred search engines listed at "The Search Engine List .com".

For example,

  • Google does not require the use of AND other search engines often do.
  • Google uses | or OR to mean the same thing, others do not.
  • Most search engines have Advanced Search Templates which can make searching VERY easy on that site, especially for new internet searchers.
  • Use the HELP section of search engines!

Advanced Operators

Title Search – searches for titles of web pages

Search Engine Boolean Operator
Google, Yahoo, Ask, or AOL
AltaVista, Lycos, or MSN

Notice: There is no space after intitle: and before resume, but there is a space before "cpa".

This search would return CPA results which had the word resume in the title.


Host or Site Search (x-raying)
Enables you to x-ray and search websites, like “googling” a website

Search Engine Boolean Operator
Google or Yahoo:

Demonstration of the above with Google Search:

Go ahead, try it! This search box actually works via Google.