In the old days, you could tell Google you were only interested in results containing specific keywords by adding a plus (+) in front of a search. For instance, this search:

aws cli for +"armv7l"

would get you a list of pages about the aws cli tool but only if they contained the keyword "armv7l".

But it doesn't work that way now and I suspect the +"keyword" construction really only meant "i am explicitly interested in this keyword" and it was just a side-effect that pages I saw all had the specific keyword in them.

I noticed a few years back they started adding 'must contain +"keyword"' to the bottom of various results (presumably the ones that didn't contain that keyword.) But this doesn't do anything anymore.

So did google change the search specification language or do they just not allow you to limit results to pages that have a specific keyword anymore? I mean, I get it, Google is a business and they want to nudge you over to pages that have ads that give them money. But the whole purpose of a search tool is to find results.

In the above example, I'm trying to find out of AWS publishes a version of their CLI tool for armv7l linux (not aarch64 linux). But I have to sift through several results before finding a page with the string "armv7l". Yes. I know. Armv7l is an old platform, but that's not what I'm asking about. I'm asking about how you tell Google you're only interested in search results that include a specific search term.

1 Answer 1


The + is no longer used in Google web queries. Instead use "double quote characters" to search for web pages with an exact match.

For your specific example:

aws cli for "armv7l"

Or maybe:

aws cli "armv7l"

See https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433 for info on this.

Note: People often search for a quotation but mis-remember the quotation, which is why Google web search will turn up pages that have a close match despite the request for an exact match.

To my knowledge, Google search does not bias the results toward pages with ads. Google is serious about search quality and competition for better search results. Rather, some of the results on the results page are ads and they are supposed to be labelled as ads. Google does bias results towards pages that people are likely to prefer, which could mean pages that load faster which in turn could lean towards pages without ads.

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