Search Engine Math is a simple way to
fine-tune your search; the syntax is recognized by most search tools.
Combine these symbols to achieve the best results.
- Use the + symbol in front of any word or phrase
to indicate that that term or phrase "must appear" in your
- Use the the
- sign for any word or
phrase that must not appear in
- Use quotation marks around
phrases to retrieve pages where the words
inside the quotation marks appear in exact order.
- Use AND between two or more
terms to retrieve pages where ALL terms appear in the document.
- Use OR between two or more terms to retrieve pages where ANY
the terms appear anywhere in the document.
- Use NOT to eliminate certain terms from your search
Each search tool has its own way of
handling keyword searches that are entered without symbols or operators.
Most search tools recognize
Search Engine Math but not all recognize
Boolean operators; some accept them in the advanced aearch, but not
in the basic search. Most search tools default to AND or OR when no
syntax is used.
The only way to know the proper syntax
for a search tool is to read the online search help for that tool.
- Match Any – Use the Boolean Operator OR to retrieve
documents where any of your terms appear.
Some search engines provide "match any" limit options.
- Match All – Use the + symbol in front of each word or phrase
that must appear in your results.
Some search engines provide "match all" or "all the words"
- Exclude – The best way to exclude certain words or phrases
from your retrieval is to use the -– symbol. Some search engines offer
this limit option in the advanced search.
- Phrase Searching – The single most effective way to produce
the best results is to use a phrase search whenever possible;
place quotation marks around the entire phrase.
This is particularly useful if you are searching for a name,
phrase, quote, or title.
Some search tools provide "phrase" or "exact phrase" limit
try a guess!
- Type http://www
- Followed by the name/acronym/brief name
of the organization or institution
- Followed by a dot and the appropriate domain name:
.com – commercial
.edu – educational institution
.org – organization
.gov – government entity
.mil – military
.net – network