Search Engine Math


You can easily use symbols: + add, - subtract, and " " quotations, to focus your search results. You will find that these formulas work with most of the major search engines: Alta Vista, AOL, Excite, Hotbot, Infoseek, Google, GoTo, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, Snap, WebCrawler and Yahoo.


The words you choose are the most important criteria. Then, use the + symbol  to find all of your words. For example:

+California +gold +mining

Only pages that have each word are returned.


To exclude a word, to have one word but not another, use the - symbol. For example:

+mining -gold

This query will yield results covering mining and excluding gold mining.


Sometimes the results that are returned will have the words, but they are not closely related. This is when quotations are useful. You would try:

"California gold mining"

This will return results with the exact same word order.


You can also combine symbols. In this next example we use " " quotes,
 - subtraction and + addition:

"Big Bear" -gold +mining

The results would tell us about all mining in Big Bear, except for gold mining.


If you would like more details regarding online searching you can go to the search engine’s homepage. Most of them will also offer a link to a page of hints specific to their search engine.