Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is this?
This guide provides search tips and tricks to help you get more out of your Google searches. The guide provides tips for improving your basic and advanced searches as well as helping you search for images, scholarly articles, and more.
Google Search Basics
Searches are not case sensitive.
- Keywords may be entered in lower or upper case or a combination of both. Math, math, MATH
- Exception: Boolean operator OR
- Find restaurants in Whitewater or Janesville
Restaurants Whitewater OR Janesville
OR must be in caps.
- Pipe symbol may be used instead of OR
Restaurants Whitewater | Janesville
Boolean operator AND is assumed.
- Find restaurants in Whitewater and Janesville
Restaurants Whitewater Janesville
Word order matters.
- Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, the second slightly more than the third, etc.
- music math (results are slightly different from the search math music)
Google ignores most punctuation and symbols. Exceptions:
- Symbols used as search operators. (See the Advanced Google Search page.)
- Underscore or hyphen when used to connect words.
- Symbols when used to convey meaning such as a programming language (C++), musical terms (G#), etc.
Google uses automatic word stemming.
- Google does not allow wildcards (*) to be used for variable ends of words.
- Instead, Google searches for all possible word variations.
- Diet returns diets dieting dietary
- The wildcard symbol (*) is instead used for whole words.
Encrypted Google Search
Your past browsing history online affects future Google searches on your personal or office computer since Google wants to tailor search results to individuals. If you wish your Google searches to remain unaffected by your past search behavior, then you can try an encrypted search.
Get Help: Contact a Librarian