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Searching for Multiple Words and Phrases

The most important search strategies to learn for any search engine are the techniques the site provides to look for multiple words and phrases. Plain-English queries are great, and they can probably handle many of your search requirements. But when you need more precision than you can get from a plain-English search, here are the features to look for:

  • AND search. How do you tell the search engine that you want to find Web sites that include references to Keyword A and Keyword B?
  • OR search. How do you specify that it's not necessary for both keywords to appear in the results, as long as one or the other is present?
  • NOT search. How do you look for one keyword while specifically excluding another?
  • NEAR search. How do you find two words or phrases in close proximity to one another?

The technical term for this type of searching is Boolean searching, and AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR are among the traditional Boolean operators.

Over the next few pages, you'll learn how to perform AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR searches with the leading search engines. You'll also find out how to use parentheses to combine words and phrases to create more complex queries.

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