How To Exclude Words From Google Search Results

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One of the most useful Google tricks that you can learn, is knowing how to exclude words from Google search results.

Why?

Because it can help you make your search techniques smarter and more targeted…

…so you only end up with the results you need.

What are Search Operators?

Search operators are a set of commands that allow you to be more specific with your Google search.

In other words:

These commands can help you communicate to Google exactly what you are looking for.

example search operators to exclude words from google search

By using these commands, a list of more relevant results will appear. This saves you time and gives you only the information you need, faster.

It’s like magic…

In this tutorial, I will show you how to exclude words from Google search and get the most accurate results possible.

How to Exclude Words From Google Search

You’re probably thinking:

Why would I want to exclude words or phrases from my Google search in the first place?

Depending on how broad your search query is, Google will find a range of websites for the search query you typed. Those websites aren’t necessarily relevant to the intent that you had.

For example-

If you google “gyms near me“, Google will likely show you any gyms within your local area.

broad google search results for gyms near me

This could include:

  • Weight lifting gyms
  • Yoga centres
  • CrossFit gyms
  • Martial arts gyms
  • Multi-purpose gyms

And more. You get the point.

A broad search = broad results from Google.

Depending on the kind of gym you want, you can ask Google to exclude the other types of gyms. You then get a more refined list that is relevant to what you are looking for.

Ready to make your searches more precise?

Let’s have a look at the three primary ways to exclude words from Google search.

1. Excluding Words

You can easily exclude a word from your Google search by putting a minus sign (“-“) immediately in front of the term you want to exclude. Make sure there is a space before the minus sign.

For example, the search “music -piano” will find all results about music that do not include piano.

Let’s say you are looking to buy a couple of big industrial steel drums for a project at home. So, you head over to Google and search “steel drums“.

google search results steel drums

When you look through the search results, you realise that most of them are related to the musical instrument steel drums.

Not the kind of steel drums you want.

So you do another search but this time using the minus symbol (-) for the words “music” and “instrument“.

google search results steel drums minus music and instrument

Google now excludes any websites that contain the words “music” or “instrument” in them.

With those words excluded, you get a refined list of websites with the industrial steel drums you want.

It’s THAT easy.

2. Use Quotes (“”) To Exclude Results That Mention Precise Terms

Using quotation marks tells Google that you want to exclude any results that mention a specific phrase or term.

For example-

You need a new laptop computer for work. You are looking for a higher-end laptop because you need to run heavier software.

That means that you don’t want a cheap, budget laptop that cannot handle your work.

google search results work laptops minus budget

Putting the words “budget laptop” in quotation marks means Google won’t show you any websites that mention that phrase.

You will now only see results for higher-end work laptops that are relevant to what you want to buy.

3. Use “Site:” To Exclude Results From Specific Websites

The “site:” search operator is my favourite way to exclude in Google search.

Using the “site:” search operator allows you to exclude a specific website from your search results.

Let’s say you want to buy a new basketball hoop but don’t want to buy it from Amazon.

google search results basketball hoops minus amazon

The site search operator excludes amazon.com, so you don’t see it as an option in the search results.

Why Using Search Operators to Filter Your Results Is Important

When you search, Google’s algorithm considers two things:

  • What you typed
  • The historical data that it knows about you

The algorithm brings back a list of results it thinks will be the most relevant for you, personally.

But they don’t always understand exactly what you are searching for. That’s why you often get dished up results you’re not interested in.

That’s where the power of search operators come in.

They help Google’s search engine filter the results and give you the information you were looking for.

Here are two reasons why you should regularly exclude words from Google search.

Get More Valuable, Relevant And Updated Results

Remember:

Google usually delivers a mix of both relevant and irrelevant results which make you spending more time sifting through each result, clicking back and forth.

When you use any of the three examples in your search, you quickly exclude:

  • Words
  • Phrases
  • Websites

All of which aren’t relevant to your search.

You tell Google that you aren’t interested in those things.

This immediately helps Google refine the search bringing back more valuable and updated results for you.

Find The Information You Need Quickly

The most significant benefit of excluding words from your Google search is…

…the amount of time it will save you.

Think of a typical Google search that you would make that doesn’t exclude any words.

Let’s say you are looking for a new laptop stand:

google search results laptop stand

The search would look something like this:

  1. You search “laptop stands” in Google
  2. Google delivers the first ten results
  3. You go through each result, hoping to find a good laptop stand
  4. After skimming and scanning the results, you realise that a lot of the results contain “standing” laptop stands which you aren’t interested in

Because the results aren’t filtered and you didn’t exclude the word “standing” from your search, you had to skim through a ton of results that weren’t relevant to what you wanted.

Now imagine if you did the same thing…

…But this time, excluding the word “standing“.

google search results laptop stand minus standing

With a list of more relevant results, you’re finding a laptop stand that you’re actually interested in…faster.

You see when you use the search operator to remove results that contain specific words, Google is bringing back even more specific results.

Who doesn’t want to cut their search time in half right?

Wrapping it Up

So there you have it: how to exclude words from Google Search results.

Excluding words from your Google searches helps the algorithm know what you want.

You will:

  • Save time
  • Get more relevant results
  • Give more valuable results
  • Provide the most up to date information

Google is smart…

…but there is still room for improvement.

We are in charge of making Google work for us (not against us).

Take advantage of the ability to make your search more targeted and relevant for you-

Next time you are Googling something, think about how you can exclude irrelevant words, phrases and websites to refine your search.

example search operators to exclude words from google search

It might seem confusing at first, but choose one of the three ways to exclude words and it will become more simple.

Once you get the hang of it-

You won’t go back to the old way of searching on Google.

Start improving the accuracy of your searches by using the three primary search operators that exclude words from the search.

Get Google working smarter for you and save yourself time in the process.

search logistics cta

Frequently Asked Questions

You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign (“-“) in front of the term you want to exclude. Make sure you include a space before the minus sign; otherwise, it won’t work.
Google recommends refining your search by using symbols or words (called operators) in your search to get specific.

What Are Your Thoughts?

18 Responses

  1. I have used the minus sign exclusion for years but recently that has stopped working, which seems weird because it used to work pretty well. It’s a given that these methods don’t work with ads but there are other ways to filter and tune them. Will try the quotation marks and thanks for that tip. Hope it works.

  2. I think they still work to a certain extent. But you’re right, they are not as dependable as they used to.

  3. I am trying to find dog friendly free things to do in Panama City, Florida to do with my dog. I live here, so I don’t want hotels or other places to rent to stay here. Also i don’t want to drive way out to the beach. Panama City and Panama City Beach are two different towns. How can i do this please?

    1. Hey Cat Perhaps you could try something like that: free dog friendly activities in Panama City Florida -beachdog friendly activities in Panama City Florida -beach +freepet friendly activities in Panama City Florida -beach

    1. Yeah it no longer works. I tried try searching for iPad cables -braided.Yep I still got tons of searches with the word braided. Braided cables just don’t last very long. I Through out two two that Simply stoped working all of a sudden in the last month. They are simply not very dependable.

  4. doesn’t work. I tried a number of times to exclude specific words using these methods on google but they ignore my request and I get exactly the same result. Maybe Google are being paid a premium to ignore this command for some companies? Either way its really annoying.

    1. I noticed that these methods do not work well in filtering the “ads” on top of the search results. But overall, they still do filter the other search results.

      1. Yes looking further down below the ads in the search results does exclude the ‘minus’ item. But Google deliberately makes it difficult to recognise ‘results’ that are advertisements and those that are genuine non-promoted search results.
        As usual Google is twisting words/display/formats to suit their revenue.

  5. operators dont work anymore, google no longer wants you to find what youre looking for.they want you to find what they want, that slightly coincides with your query.

  6. Please state whether it is possible to daisy-chain exclusion terms. I’ve tried but have no joy.Example, I want to exclude all the cheap Chinese websites from Shopping Google Search, how do I do this(like excluding Banggood, Alibaba, Ubuy, etc.

    1. Hey Warren, Yes, it is possible! What you can do is type the name of the product you want to purchase followed by -site:alibaba.com -site:usa.banggood.com -site:ubuy.com This should exclude all the sites you don’t want to purchase from.

      1. Yes that is the answer, I’ve been conned by a well-known booking website that I have sworn never to use again and successfully exclude from searches, by adding
        -site:*******.com
        (where asterisks could but don’t stand for swear words).
        Thank you Matthew

  7. doesn’t work. Try searching for leather chairs but not faux leather. Tell me how to do that

    1. Hey Lawrence, You should try to type: leather chairs -fauxleather Also, note that this won’t really filter the “ads” you get at the top of the search results. But if you go past the ads, you should see results that match your query. Just give it a shoot and let me know if it worked!

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