Research Guide: Websites

Use this guide to learn more about how to find and evaluate websites

Find reliable websites by limiting the domain

Limit to specific domains in when searching Google

Limiting the domain of the websites you're searching in Google is one of the quickest ways to narrow your results and find more credible resources quickly! URL domains can be clues to a site's reliability and ownership.

Common URL domains:
  • .com = commercial (ads & pop-ups)
  • .gov = U.S. government (official agencies)
  • .mil = U.S. military
  • .edu = educational (colleges & universities)
  • .org = organization (could be non-profit or for-profit, can be informative but often biased)
  • .net = network (could be almost anything, including personal websites)
  • .info = information (generic domain, no criteria needed for companies or individuals to use)
  • .biz = business (an alternative to .com)
You can also limit your searches, like through a Google search, by using the "site:" search shortcut. 
"Site searching" examples:

sample site search limiting the domain to educational websites

  • politics in art site:edu (would find educational resources on this topic)
  • politics in art site:gov (would find U.S. government resources on this topic)
  • Note that there are NO spaces before or after the colon after the word "site"

How to find quality websites

Using Google's Advanced Search Options

‚ÄčTo find websites that are more revelant to your needs, use Google's Advanced Search. You can use the link below, or you can always just do a Google search for "Advanced Google Search" to see the options below. 

Look at this scenario: 

You are researching how stem cells from human embryos might help cure neurological diseases, especially Parkinson's disease

  • You could use the options shown below to search for exact phrases, like "human Embryonic stem cells"
  • You can also exclude certain words that are not relevant, words you do not want to see in your search results. 
  • You can also limit the domain to find more credible or relevant results.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

screen shot of an Advanced Search in Google


When you use the form for the advanced search in Google, you can see how Google has taken what was put into the form above into a search for the following:

"neutral disease" OR "Parkinson's Disease" "human embryonic stem cells" -cloning site:gov

(Click on image to enlarge)screen shot of a Google search with multiple search terms and limits

Video: Smart Web Search Strategies

Source: "Smart Web Search Strategies - GRCC Holman Library" by Holman Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Learn how to get the most out of your Google searches by using the "site:" search strategy.

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