This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Google Like a Pro" guide.
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Google Like a Pro   Tags: finding information, google, research, search tips  

Learn how to use Google more effectively with this guide!
Last Updated: Jan 28, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

Before You Search

Figure out what you're looking for

Choose as many descriptive words as needed

  • Too few words may return poor results
  • Stick to nouns; avoid stop words (words that are skipped by search engines)



Use the search box below to practice your Google skills! Compare and contrast results based on how you would normally search, then use the tips in this guide and see how they help you.


Google Search Tips Video

Check out this video for searching tips from a Google software engineer!


Phrasing Your Google Search

Remember these tips when choosing your search words!

  • Searches are not case-sensitive
    • Keywords may be entered in upper- or lower-case (ex: Music, MUSIC, music)
  • Word order matters
    • Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, and the second higher than the third, etc.
      • Ex: music science will retrieve slightly different results than science music
  • Google ignores most punctuation and symbols
    • Exceptions:
    • Dollar sign when used to indicate price
      • Ex: dell $300 will give different results than dell 300
    • Underscore or hyphen when used to connect words
      • Ex: mother-in-law or mother_in_law
    • Symbols when used to show meaning, such as a programming language (C++), musical term (F#), etc.

Subject Guide

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Jen Fiero
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Portions of this guide are based on the Google Search Tips guide created by MIT Libraries.


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