Joshua earned an MBA from USF and he writes mostly about software and technology.
Be More Effective at Google Searches
You’ve probably been wondering all through school how to filter your searches to decrease research time. I’ve completed a lot of internet research in my day with this easy-to-use trick. I've narrowed down search results more efficiently with Google search lingo and you will too.
You must understand top-level domains before we move on with the main discussion. Top-level domains are usually at the end of the uniform resource locator (URL) when you are on a homepage of a website. If not, it will be followed by some type of path that you can see in the example illustration below.
The most common TLD that we see on the internet is .com, but not the only one. Other popular TLDs include:
TLDs for Academic Research
As students looking for the most relevant sources, we are most interested in a selective number of TLDs. All schools will vary, so I’m going to use the TLDs which have been accepted in the institutions where I have studied in my examples.
Each TLD that is generally used for educational research for students is presented with a brief explanation below.
- .edu – This TLD is limited to institutions that are related to education. Primarily, it is used for universities and colleges in the United States.
- .org – This TLD is can be used for any entity or any person that is permitted to register as an organization. It is primarily used by non-profit organizations.
- .gov – This TLD is limited to institutions that are affiliated with the United States Government.
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Generally, you can trust most sources with a .edu or .gov TLD. Organizations are generally trusted due to their indifference because they do not profit.
Searching for Specific TLDs
A Google search without restrictions will bring up a long list of results. These results are all seen as relevant to the Google search algorithm. To narrow your web search to only include TLDs that we discussed earlier you can follow these steps:
- Type “site:” in the Google search bar.
- Type the TLD that you want to search for without adding a space.
- You will have to type another space preceding whatever your search term(s) are.
For example, if I want to look up operations management and only want to see the websites that have a .edu TLD, I would need to type the following into Google:
site:.edu operations management
See the search result in the illustration below. Notice that the results only display links that have the .edu TLD in the URL. This should be true for each results page.
The site command can make searching for educational resources easier to find but can also serve other means. Perhaps you only want to search for websites in specific countries. To do so you would just have to use the TLD for the specific country that you want to search in. The search can actually be localized even more by adding a complete website URL to only provide results from that website.
- List of Internet top-level domains. (n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2019, from
- Research Guides: Website Research: URLs. (2019, November 27). Retrieved December 25, 2019.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Joshua Crowder