Can you tell me what’s in a Google search?

by Lucian Ivan

Google search engine results have always been minimalist compared to the competition. It looks different today, but white space is a big part of the picture.

The URL data in the browser bar, however, contains all of your referral data, parameters, filters, and search settings. Anyone who has tried to share a link on social media manually has seen how long these strings can get. The good news is, if you understand what some of these parameters mean, you can control them. Here is simple search for CNN with the referring junk removed:, where num=results per page, q=search query, oq= at least one of these words (in our case, cnn).

I’ll go ahead and skip parameters that you can easily control with Boolean. The goal here is to view unfiltered, consistent, and repeatable results. These are the custom options you can add to a query. Each parameter must be separated with “&” and no spaces. Using more than one may give you odd results. The best solution is to add the query at the end like this example:
Different parameters complete different tasks:

filter – turns on/off omitted results or similar results filter (e.g. filter=0)

pws – turns on/off Google personalized results (e.g pws=0)

safe – turns on/off safe search (e.g. safe=active)

newwindow – always opens results in new window (e.g newwindow=1)

as_nlo & as_nhi=number range – low and high (e.g. as_nlo=2010&as_nhi=2017)

tbs=li – verbatim (e.g. tbs=li:1)

tbs=sbd – sort by date or relevance (e.g. tbs=sbd:1 for date, or tbs=sbd:1 for relevance)

lr – language restriction (e.g. lr=lang_be)

gl – country restriction (e.g. gl=country_iw)

hl – interface language (e.g. hl=nl)

Like all things internet, these parameters change often and without notice. Some of the information you will find online is dated so the sources can be checked by Google sources. Parameters are different on other Google properties including News, Patent, and Video search.

Lucian Ivan

HeadHunter IT

Sure, everything’s up for an ol’ fashion’n’fun controversy. Still, seems reasonable to say that, regardless of your core experience or expertise, be it scoundrel or scholar, you are known by the company you keep.

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