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Refine Google Search Results by Using Plus or Minus Signs

Geek Tip: Refine Your Google Search Results

Google is smart. Really smart. Take this tip, which I recently read in the latest issue of Real Simple: to narrow down your search, use a hyphen before words you don't want included in the search results. Say you want to find information on ravens — the actual bird, not the football team from Baltimore. So enter "ravens -football -Baltimore." The returned results will omit those including football.

Smart, right? The hyphen acts as a minus sign, so Google knows not to return results including those words or phrases. The same logic also works with a plus sign, so if you're looking for a super-specific result (like that movie title that is right on the tip of your tongue), use the + sign in between search terms to narrow down your search.

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Join The Conversation
KadBunny KadBunny 6 years
ooh I know ebay does this but not Google. Thanks for the tip :)
diornotwar2 diornotwar2 6 years
being able to search google smartly has saved me massive amounts of time, and sometimes, money! as long as you know the right tricks and tools, you can make a search 100x more efficient.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 6 years
I say the first two comments are party poopers because I have always wanted this function and never knew it existed! That is very awesome, and thank you for posting it
bingbingboom bingbingboom 6 years
It's the equivalent of "negative match" in Google Adwords program.
aniline aniline 6 years
Heh, I learned this in a class at college. In 1997. It really does work for a whole mess of search things, not just Google. :) Speaking of google though, they have a fantastic list of all the useful search modifiers. A lot of people don't know the site: one, it's super useful. http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861
brdwaystarlett brdwaystarlett 6 years
Umm... Boolean logic has been applied in most search engines since forever. This isn't really news and it isn't exclusive to Google either.
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