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How to Get the Most Out of Google Search

How to get the most out of Google searches.

Google Advanced Search

Advanced sounds harder, but really what you get is more options.

If you get millions of hits when searching with Google, consider trying Advanced Search. Advanced Search gives you options that allow you to search more precisely, which means you won’t have to look through as many hits to find what you want.

These are just some of the options that can save you time:

  • Specify how you want your search terms to be searched (exact phrase, none of these words, number ranges, etc.)
  • Narrow results by language, date, file format and more.
  • Turn on safe search, which filters out explicit sexual content.
  • Perform a domain specific search (.org, .edu, .gov)
  • Perform a page specific search (


Try Google Scholar

Did you Know? Google has a special interface that emphasises sources that tend to be more scholarly. 

Google Scholar searches across many scholarly disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, and universities with non scholarly results filtered out.

Some of these scholarly results include free full text and many more are available for free to COM students, faculty and staff.

Learn more about Google Scholar: How to Use Google Scholar

Google Search Alerts

Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms.

Create a Google Alert

Go to the Google Alerts home page:

  1. Enter your search.
  2. Select the type of results you'd like (News, Blogs, Video, Discussions, Everything.
  3. Select how often you'd like results to be checked.
  4. Select number of results to be included.
  5. Enter your email address.
  6. When done, click the 'Create Alert' button. Google will send you a confirmation email; clicking the link in this email will activate your Alert.

You can create and confirm your Alert in one visit on your "Manage Your Alerts" page. To access this page, you'll need a Google Account. To create your account, click the link at the bottom of the Google Alerts home page or visit the Google Accounts home page directly.

Access this Google guide to help you get the most out of Google AlertsGoogle Alerts Getting Started Guide

My Google Activity

Why you want to use My Google Activity

You did a very effective search but can’t remember it, or maybe you found a great site but can’t find it now. If you were logged into your Google account when you performed the searched or visited you can retrieve it later. Activity is listed chronologically, or you can use the filter to go back as far as you’ve had your account or restrict to specific activity. Go to My Google Activity.

See if new results are available

Another way to use this feature is to re-run a search to see if there are any new resources available. Just click on a previous search to re-run it. You can narrow down to latest or not yet visited using Google's search tools that appear after a search.