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Search Query Tips


A Search Engine • Search Tips • History of Search Engines - business information - consumer information
By default, most popular search engines try to locate pages that have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query.  If that fails, they then try to locate pages that contain any of the words in your search query.

search box
Search Box Illustration

There are several standard methods that you can use to modify this default search engine behavior.

  • Phrase Search – To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase, for example "business news".

  • + and - Qualifiers – If you prepend a word with +, that word must be on the page.  If you prepend a word with -, that word must not be on the page, for example +always -never.

  • * Wildcard – If a query word ends with *, all words on a page that start the same way as that query word will match, for example gift*.

  • ? Wildcard – If a query word contains ?, any character will match that position, for example b?g.

  • Boolean Search – You can use the boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT in your search, for example contact AND us or about AND us.  These operators must be capitalized, as shown.
These search query techniques can all be combined, for example +alway* -nev?r*. is a hybrid subject directory and search engine that gathers search results from a carefully chosen set of websites.  You can try out these search tips in the ASearch search box.

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Search Engine Query Tips