Search Strategies - Summary and Comparison of Commands

 

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The table below summarises and compares a selection of the advanced search commands that are available in Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo.

A list of Google's advanced search operators compiled by Google's own Dan Russell can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ydVaJJeL1EYbWtlfj9TPfBTE5IBADkQfZrQaBZxqXGs/

There is a full list of Bing's commands at   https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff795620.aspx

DuckDuckGo's syntax is at https://duck.co/help/results/syntax

 

Google
www.google.com

Bing
www.bing.com

DuckDuckGo
http://duckduckgo.com/

Default search

Automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your terms. Drops words from your search if the number of results is low or zero.

Automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your term. Drops words from your search if the number of results is low or zero.

All of your words but drops terms if the number of results is low or zero.

Wild card or truncation

Not user specified. Google automatically looks for variations and synonyms. (But see Proximity and asterisk below).

Not user specified. Automatically looks for synonyms and variations.

No

Alternative terms or variations

Use OR for example oil OR petroleum

Use OR for example oil OR petroleum

Use OR for example oil OR petroleum

Suggests other search strategies and related terms

Suggests additional terms as you type in your search. Also offers related searches at the bottom of your results page.

Suggests additional terms as you type in your search. 'Related Searches' at the bottom or to the right of your results page.

Suggests searches as you type.

Phrases

"." for example "climate change"

"." for example "climate change"

"..." for example "climate change"

Proximity

Use the asterisk to stand in for one or more words in a phrase for example solar * panels

near:n listed in Bing's documentation but no longer seems to work.

No

Exclude pages with a word

Precede words with a minus sign (-) .
For example cabbage -red

Precede words with a minus sign (-) or use NOT For example
cabbage -red
cabbage NOT red

Precede words with a minus sign (-)
For example
cabbage -red

Boost importance of a term

Repeat the term 2 or more times in your search. Also changes the order of the results.

Repeat the term 2 or more times in your search. Also changes the order of the results.

 

Word in URL :

inurl: for example inurl:chocolate

No

No

Word in title

intitle: for example intitle:petroleum

intitle: for example intitle:petroleum

intitle: or t: for example intitle:petroleum

Word in the text

intext: ensures that an exact match of your term appears in the text of the page for example intext:penryn

inbody: ensures that an exact match of your term appears in the text of the page. For example inbody:penryn

inbody: or b: ensures that an exact match of your term appears in the text of the page. For example inbody:penryn

Specify part of domain or limit by web site

site: looks for your terms on a specific site or type of site. For example
UK carbon emissions site:gov.uk

site: looks for your terms on a specific site or type of site. For example UK carbon emissions site:gov.uk

site: looks for your terms on a specific site or type of site. For example
UK carbon emissions site:gov.uk

Similar pages

related: looks for pages or sites that are similar in content. For example related:http://www.nice/ org.uk/

No

No

File type or format

filetype: Looks for files in the specified format. For example fracking licences filetype:pdf

filetype: Looks for files in the specified format. For example fracking licences filetype:pdf

filetype: Looks for files in the specified format. For example fracking licences filetype:pdf

Search by date

On the results page click on ‘Search tools' in the menu above the results, then ‘Any time' and select a time period or specify a custom range.

Top of the results page ‘Any time' option.

 

‘Any Time' option above the search results. Only goes up to the past month.

Definitions define finds definitions and synonyms of words, for example define dialectic . Also provides information on the origin of a word, use over time and translations. (No colon is required after ‘define'.) define finds definitions and synonyms of words, for example define dialectic . Also provides information on the origin of a word and translations. (No colon is required after ‘define'.) define finds definitions of words, for example define dialectic .

Limit by geography

Country versions of Google but now has to be done via Settings, Advanced Search. Scroll down to “Then narrow your results by…” You may need to change to the relevant language as well. Alternatively append &cr=countryXX to the URL of your search, where XX is the 2 letter country code

loc: followed by two letter country code for example loc:de

region: or r: followed by two letter country code for example region:de or use the drop down menu on the left above the results.

Boolean

OR

Boolean sometimes works but more often does not. Do not rely on it.

AND,OR and parentheses ( ).

Cached copy

Click on the green arrow next to the URL of a page in the results list and select ‘Cached', or search using cache: for example cache:rba.co.uk

Click on the green arrow next to the URL of the page in your results list and select 'Cached'

No

Unique features

Numeric range search for example
electric vehicle production forecast 2020..2030

Additional search features in the menus at the top of the results pages

feed: looks for an RSS or Atom feed related to your search term for example feed:gardening

Additional search options in the menus at the top of the results pages.

No tracking, no personalisation or "filter bubble"