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Tip #4: Exclude Irrelevant Words

Just as you sometimes want to search for pages that include a stop word that Google normally ignores, you may also want to refine your results by excluding all pages that include a specific word. This lets you skip those pages that include a misleading or irrelevant word that might otherwise be common to your search.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to homonyms—words with multiple meanings. For example, the word "bass" can refer to a fish, a male singer, a stringed instrument, a brand of beer, and a brand of footwear. If you search only for bass, you get results that include all of these variations.

Fortunately, Google lets you exclude words from your search by using the - operator; any word in your query preceded by - is automatically excluded from the search results. (Remember to always include a space before the -, and none after.)

You can use the - operator to exclude pages that include words related to those meanings of your main keyword that are irrelevant to your search. In the case of the word "bass," if you're only interested in pages about bass singers, you would enter a query that looks like this: bass -fish -guitar -beer -shoes. You'll get much more focused results than a bass-only search.

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