There are better ways to search Google than simply entering text.
Joshua Hardwick's post is targeted toward SEOs (Search Engine Optimizers), people who optimize websites for maximum search engine access, but everybody can use these search operators to improve their Googling.
Some of these functions may also work in library databases. For help, ask a librarian.
Force an exact-match search. Use this to refine results for ambiguous searches, or to exclude synonyms when searching for single words.
Example: “steve jobs”
Search for X or Y. This will return results related to X or Y, or both. Note: The pipe (|) operator can also be used in place of “OR.”
Examples: jobs OR gates / jobs | gates
Search for X and Y. This will return only results related to both X and Y. Note: It doesn’t really make much difference for regular searches, as Google defaults to “AND” anyway. But it’s very useful when paired with other operators.
Example: jobs AND gates
Exclude a term or phrase. In our example, any pages returned will be related to jobs but not Apple (the company).
Example: jobs -apple
Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
Example: steve * apple
Group multiple terms or search operators to control how the search is executed.
Example: (ipad OR iphone) apple
A dictionary built into Google, basically. This will display the meaning of a word in a card-like result.
Restrict results to those of a certain filetype. E.g., PDF, DOCX, TXT, PPT, etc. Note: The “ext:” operator can also be used—the results are identical.
Example: apple filetype:pdf / apple ext:pdf
Limit results to those from a specific website.