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More Relevant Results

Note: Nancy uses this page for presentations on her favorite Google features. You can find more information about these features in other sections of Google Guide.

Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms.

Google search box with [ child bicycle helmet ].  

The query above finds pages that contain words that are similar to some or all of your search terms, e.g.,

  • child,” “children,” or “children’s
  • bicycle,” “bicycles,” “bicycle’s,” “bicycling,” or “bicyclists
  • helmet” or “helmets

Google calls this feature word variations or automatic stemming.

  • Want only Exact Matches?

    Disable automatic stemming by surrounding each term that you want to be matched exactly with quotation marks.

    Google search box with [ favorite "book" ].  
  • Searching for a Phrase or a Proper Name?

    If you want to search for pages that contain a phrase or proper name and not variations, enclose your search terms in quotes (” ”).

    Google search box with [ "Dr. Phil" ].  
  • One Word, Two Words, or Hyphenated?

    When Google encounters a hyphen (–) in a query term, e.g., [ e-mail ], it searches for:

    • the term with the hyphen, e.g., e-mail
    • the term without the hyphen, e.g., email
    • the term with the hyphen replaced by a space, e.g., e mail
    • e-mail ] matches “e-mail,” “e mail,” and “email
    • e mail ] matches “e-mail” and “e mail

    If you aren’t sure whether a word is hyphenated, search for it with a hyphen.

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This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

Creative Commons

By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.