How to Exclude Words From Google Search

The quicker you can search in Google, the faster you’ll find exactly what you need — without having to weed through everything you don’t care about. Once you learn how to exclude words from Google Search, your search results page will have more targeted options that are easier to skim so you can click on the best result.

What Are Google Search Operators?

Search operators are commands you use in Google Search to specify what you’re looking for. Using these commands means you’ll get more relevant results for your query.

Why You Should Filter With Search Operators

Have you ever noticed how many results Google returns for a query? Here’s an example: For “best new release movies,” there are more than 7 billion results:

Google Search results.

Even the top results won’t always be relevant to what you’re actually looking for, which is why filtering with the Google Search exclude word parameter is useful. The broader the search, the broader the results; the more focused the search, the more focused the results.

Excluding words or terms refines Google results so you see more of what you want. If I remove the word “theater” from my “best new release movies” search, the results go down by over 2 billion and the top results are for streaming platforms instead of movie theaters.

Also, Google’s algorithm gets used to the type of thing you search for often, but search operators teach it to look for something else. If you’re seeking results that are different from what you wanted in the past, Google will only know that if you give it more hints about what you’re after.

There are a few ways to make your Google Search results more precise, and they’re all simple to do. Let’s go over them.

How to Exclude Words From Google Search

Can’t seem to find what you want by Googling? Before you assume the results you want don’t exist, it pays to know how to exclude words from Google Search. Here are four ways to help Google serve you better.

Using the Minus Sign to Exclude Words

Use the minus (-) sign to exclude a word from your search engine results. This lets Google know that you don’t want to see results for your query that include that word. The search looks like this: search term -word

There shouldn’t be a space between the minus sign and the word you’re excluding:

  • Correct: ice skating -Olympics
  • Incorrect: ice skating – Olympics

You can also use multiple minus signs to exclude more than one term. For example, ice skating -Olympics -rinks

Here’s an example of how this search operator works: If you were to search for “New York travel” but don’t want results for New York City, you would search for: New York travel -city.

This returns 1.3 billion results , and the top ones focus on New York State travel. If you were to just search for “New York travel” without eliminating the word “city,” you’d get 5.3 billion results, and among the top results are New York City travel guides:

An example of what happens if you don't exclude search term Google.

Using Quotes to Exclude Terms

When you need to exclude a term instead of a single word, use quotation marks (“”) along with a minus sign. It’ll look like this: search term -“search term to exclude”

For example, if you search for “Disney parks travel,” one of the first results is about Disney World travel:

An example of what you get with Google Search exclude word parameters.

But if you want to look for information about other Disney parks around the world and exclude Disney World, you’d search for Disney parks travel -“Disney World”. Now the results are about other Disney parks and travel topics:

An example of how to exclude words from Google Search.

You can include search words and search terms in the same Google query: search term -word -“phrase”

Excluding Results From Specific Websites

You can also use a search operator to exclude results from a specific website. It’ll look something like this: search term -site:URL

For example, let’s say you’re shopping online for a Hydro Flask water bottle but you don’t want to purchase it from the Hydro Flask website. You would search for hydro flask -site:hydroflask.com. This returns results from a number of stores that aren’t hydroflask.com.

Without doing that, your first several results would be from the Hydro Flask site:

Search results without using the Google Search exclude word for website parameter.

You can combine all three search operators as needed. For example: search term -word -“phrase” -site:URL

Using Google’s Advanced Search

Need an alternative for how to exclude words from Google Search? You can use Google’s built-in advanced search to narrow results in a number of ways.

On the bottom-right of the Google home page, click Settings > Advanced Search.

Google Search exclude word using Advanced Search.

There are a lot of options here for targeting your Google query, including excluding a word, filtering by location and searching by file type:

How to exclude search term with Google Advanced Search.

You can also see Advanced Search options after entering a query in Google Search by clicking the Settings Gear on the search results page:

Quick Settings gear to navigate to Google Advanced Search.

A sidebar will show up on the right side of the page, and Advanced Search is one of the options.

Also, depending on the type of query you entered, you may have more customized targeting options. For example, when searching for “scary movies” in Google and then clicking the Settings Gear, there’s an option to Edit Your Services, which lets you personalize what’s recommended to you:

Specialty Advanced Search option in Google.

Final Thoughts About Excluding Words From Google Search

Google will always give you a mix of relevant and non-relevant results when searching for something. Excluding certain words, phrases or websites narrows the results by telling Google more about what you’re looking for.

Is it a perfect science? No. But knowing how to exclude words from Google Search makes it more likely that the best results will be toward the top of the first page.

You won’t have to settle for a web page you’re not actually interested in, and researching online will become more fruitful and faster.

Build A Powerful Internal Link Strategy Today

Enter your email & we'll send you 8 tips to build an internal link strategy.

And 3 things you should avoid doing with internal links.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    What Is Search Intent? Here’s Why It’s So Important

    Contents1 What Is Search Intent? The 4 Different Types1.1 Navigational1.2 Informational1.3 Commercial1.4 Transactional2 How Can You Determine Search Intent?3 What Is Search Intent? Final Thoughts What is search intent? The term refers to the reason why a user searches for…

    Read More

    What is DR in SEO? Why Does it Matter?

    Contents1 How is DR Calculated?2 Why is DR Important? 3 How to Find Your DR?4 How to Increase Your DR5 Final Thoughts DR stands for “domain rating” and it’s a metric used by Ahrefs to represent the strength of a website’s…

    Read More

    Get Started with LinkWhisper

    Speed Up the Process of Internal Linking and Help You Rank Better in Google

    Get LinkWhisper Now