Use Google to Search Within a Single Website

Narrow your search to a single website with this tip

Key Word Search

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You can use Google to search a single website when you are confident the information is on a specific site but don't know where to look to find it. You may remember that you saw a great recipe on a magazine's website but don't remember the issue. Sometimes the site itself may have a problematic internal search. Either way, it is often faster and easier to search for a key phrase and specify that you only want results from a specific website.

How to Search Within a Specific Website 

To search within a specific website, you must enter the search following the rules that Google recognizes for such a search.

  1. Click in Google's search field.

  2. Type site: in the Google search bar followed by the name of the website you want to limit the search to. There's no need to use the http:// or the www. part of the site name, but you must include the .com or .org or another domain name. Make sure there's no space between site: and the website address. For example: site:lifewire.com

  3. Follow the website name with a single space and then type the search phrase. For example:

    site:lifewire.com power search tricks

  4. Press Return or Enter to begin the search.

In this example, the search results that are returned include any article from the Lifewire website that concerns search tricks. The Lifewire results are followed by results from other websites.

When you want to search a website for an article on a specific topic, it is better to use more than one word in the search phrase to narrow the search results. Searching only for "tricks" or "search" would be far too general in this example. 

How to Search a Single Domain

Usually searching an entire domain casts too wide a net, but if you are searching for government information, for example, you could search just within .gov sites by entering only the domain for the name. For example:

site:.gov seized property ohio

This site search is confined to all the websites in the .gov domain.

If you know the specific government agency, it is better to add it to filter your results further. For example, if you seek tax information results only from the IRS website, use:

site:IRS.gov estimated taxes

That's not the end of the story. Google's site: syntax can be mixed with other search syntax tricks, such as AND and OR searches