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Tip #3: Include Stop Words

Remember when I said you could improve the accuracy of a search by including more keywords? That advice doesn't include small common words, such as "and," "the," "where," "how," "what," and "or" (in all lowercase). These are called stop words, and Google automatically ignores them when you include them in a query. (For that matter, Google also ignores single digits and single letters, such as the letter "a".)

When you include a stop word in a query, it does nothing but slow down the search, which is why Google excises them. As an example, Google takes the query how a transmission works, removes the words "how" and "a," and creates the new, shorter query transmission works.

If it's important to include a particular stop word in a query, you can override the stop word exclusion by telling Google that it must include specific words. You do this with the + operator, in front of the otherwise excluded word. For example, to include the word "how" in your query, you'd enter +how. Be sure to include a space before the + sign, but not after it.

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