Searching Bing/USA.gov | Sometimes Very Different Than Searching Google
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USA.gov’s search engine is powered by Bing, so to search effectively at USA.gov, you would need to be a proficient Bing searcher. For those of you used to Google searching, you will find that searching at Bing/USA.gov is very different in some instances.

USA.gov provides no search tips and we were unable to easily find any at Bing. However, on USA.gov’s Advanced Search page (which you can only find once you run a search), if you click the “You can also use advanced search operators to help limit and focus your searches” link, you will be taken to the “Advanced search keywords” page. But that page only explains how to use various instructions such as how to limit your search to a specific file type. The more useful help page, where you learn how to search with Boolean connectors, is found by clicking the “Advanced search options” link at the bottom of the “Advanced search keywords” page.

Let’s take a look at how searching Bing/USA.gov and Google is the same for some searches but very different for others.

Phrase Searching

There are no differences when phrase searching at Google and Bing/USA.gov. Phrases are surrounded within quotation marks.

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Connecting Keywords with the And Boolean Connector

There are no differences when connecting keywords and phrases with the And Boolean connector at Google and Bing/USA.gov. The default Boolean connector is AND. Leaving a space between words automatically connects your keywords/phrases with the AND Boolean connector so there is no need to type the word AND.

Connecting Keywords with the OR Boolean Connector

There are no differences if you are only searching your keywords using one Boolean connector, such as nevada OR oregon. Your Bing/USA.gov and Google search would look like this:

nevada OR oregon.

(Yes, the OR must be upper case at Google and Bing/USA.gov.)

However, there are differences between Bing/USA.gov and Google if you are combining your OR search with other Boolean connectors in a search. At Bing/USA.gov, you need to enclose your OR terms in parentheses, so your search would look like this:

"homeland security" (nevada OR oregon)

The same search at Google would look like this:

"homeland security" nevada OR oregon

Exclude a Keyword with the NOT (MINUS SIGN) Boolean Connector

If you are excluding a word at Google and Bing/USA.gov, you would place a minus sign before the word without any space. Your search would look like this:

"homeland security" nevada -oregon

However, there is one difference between Bing/USA.gov and Google when excluding words. Bing/USA.gov also recognizes the Boolean connector NOT, but it must be in upper case. Google does not recognize NOT. So to search at Bing/USA.gov for the phrase "homeland security" and the keywords nevada NOT oregon, your search would look like this:

"homeland security" nevada NOT oregon

Conclusion

As you can see, knowing how to search correctly makes all the difference in the world. You can’t assume that every search engine is the same. We have created a chart comparing some of the most useful, but little known, search features of the major search engines.

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