Search Within Results Google Results Not Really Gone

Jan 18, 2011 • 8:53 am | comments (50) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

There have been many complaints in the Google Web Search Help forums that Google has removed the ability to "search within results."

Google had a special link at the bottom of the search results that read, "search within results." Here is a picture of that link:

Google drops search within results

Kelly F. from Google explained that although the link is missing the feature still works. She explained Google made it quicker to use. Kelly said:

As you may have noticed, the Search within results link no longer appears at the bottom of your search results page. Right now you might be thinking, 'What? No way! How am I going to narrow down my results now that it's gone?' Well have no fear - I've got a little secret for you: when you used to click on the Search within results link and type in additional search terms, you weren't actually searching within your previous list of results. In reality, your new search terms were simply added on to your original entry and then another search was performed. We've eliminated that extra step you used to take to modify your results.

Not everyone is happy with this but I doubt Google will change it.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Previous story: Matt Cutts Defends Google's Search Integrity


SEO Cape Town

01/19/2011 03:15 pm

To tell the truth I have never once made use of the "search within results" feature so it doesn't really matter to me if its gone or not.


01/21/2011 03:26 am

Actually, it doesn't work the same way at all. Kelly F. is full of shit.


01/23/2011 10:20 pm

Kelly F is either misinformed or misleading users. Late last year the "search within" function, while visible, ceased operating correctly: whereas before, a search yielding 8,000 could be drilled down to 670 or 67 results by adding search terms within the first one, it now sometimes produced 18,000 results. At the time I thought this was a bug, soon to be fixed, but now it seems as if it was a deliberate attempt to render "search within" useless, so Google users would not object when it was removed. Yes, it sounds paranoid, but what was a research tool has mutated into a page-view generator. As soon as I can find a search engine that allows this drill-down feature, I'll be switching permanently.


01/24/2011 04:31 am

I'm with you on this one. The 'search within' was one of the singular reasons for using 'Google' for some years as an invaluable research tool. That has now gone. I can now use any other search engine and get the same unrefined results. Cady...if you find one please post it or post directly to me at would really appreciate it. I do a lot of online research and Google no longer makes that any easier. Thanks for the post.


01/24/2011 04:44 am

In the meantime, you may want to check the following 'blog' site:


01/27/2011 04:49 pm

Hey SEO, thanks for taking the time and effort to share that. Now, back to that getting a life thing.

John Bentley

01/28/2011 08:49 am

Although we can do nothing about google's (small 'g' intentional) decision, we can at least be inspired in introspective ways. Here is mine:

John Tenny

01/29/2011 04:40 pm

If you would take the time to test SWR instead of just copying the company response (and if you understand how SWR reduces the number of hits with each added term), you would have a more useful response. This is clearly not a useful site.

John Tenny

01/29/2011 04:52 pm

Yes it is. A SWR will reduce the number of hits with each added word. The Google system adds hits.


01/31/2011 04:18 am

I support reply #5 with the exasperated: "BRING IT BACK YOU BLOODY BASTARDS!"

Anji Kerr

02/03/2011 02:11 pm

well it worked for me so please bring back or I will default to another search engine. The 'search within results' was the primary reason for defaulting to Google. Anji

Rob Pollock

02/04/2011 08:57 am

Bring Back SWR now!


02/06/2011 11:29 pm

Bring back Search Within Results


02/08/2011 06:50 pm

Yandex works fairly well but is not as elegant and user friendly as Google SWR was. At least I was able to find some info that has eluded me since SWR was so unwisely removed from Google. What in the world are they thinking? The Google folks didn't study American product history. Coke tried to improve/modernize their product line a few years ago by removing their tried and true Classic Coke product. That did not go very well for Coke. Google needs to Google that little peice of history. and bring back classic search within results.


02/09/2011 06:12 am

To me, Google removing their search option, “search within results” is to say the least upsetting and it gets worse every day. I certainly do not believe that this action comes close to making the overall search feature more efficient. The results they claim are simply not there and they are wrong. From my point of view, and apparently from the vast majority of folks out there who depend on search within results, just the opposite is true. I think to myself surely they must know from their own search data just how much this tool means to their users. In the scheme of things, I consider myself to be a user of Google Search, AND a customer of Google at the same time. I feel that I have paid my dues to Google by letting them compile a profile of me, which I understand they will market to other customers for the purpose of increasing advertising revenue. For the benefit I receive from using search within results, I believe this is a fair trade. However, if Google seems to be positioning to charge user/customers a fee for this service at some future date, an opinion held by others and me, their balance on the scale of good and evil moves past evil to dastardly. To Google’s credit, in times past I have seen them make decisions based upon what’s best for their users, not just themselves. I am a business person, I know what these decisions cost the company, and I know that making the right decision is often not easy to justify. Google, if you are listening, this is one of those times – do not try to stand in front of this train, make the good decision and restore search within results. Your reward will far exceed your investment.

Theuns Germishuys

02/09/2011 09:19 am

This is not a train smash. I loved the SWR feature but there is another way around it. When searching for a term like Cancer, you would be presented with all the searches related to cancer. To search within the hit list for only those pertaining to colon do the following. Add to the initial string AND "colon" so that the whole search term will look like this......."Cancer" AND "Colon". Cancer alone will return about 242,000,000 results, whereas "Cancer" AND "Colon" will return 23,200,000 results. To refine it down further just add the word AND and something like "cure" and it will be further narrowed down....hope this helps


02/13/2011 09:55 pm

Here's what I said over at Google: Well, Kelly F, that is no help at all and actually you may come to think Google failed to understand their clients. . What you are really saying is that Search within results didn't work as it was perceived to work. I think, sub-consciously, many of us realised it didn't do what it was supposed to do from the results that obtained, but none the less we all liked this feature. "Search within results" is what is called a "perceived benefit". Perceived benefits are those that make the customers happy whether they deliver a real benefit or not. Here's an example: compare two shampoos. One of is very thick (rich and creamy) and the other is very thin. Most people associate thickness with quality and would choose this one even though they both have the same cleaning power. You know that "search within results didn't work as it was supposed to and that there is no actual difference between how it works now and how it used to work. The problem is that users liked the feature, for whatever reason, and they don't like it being taken away. They especially won't like being told they have been taken for chumps and to "get used to it." What would be really really nice is if Google recognised the value people place on this (even if it didn't work as most people supposed it did) and put it back. Better yet would be to make it work the way people thought it worked. Now we have to ask, if it didn't ever work before and works no different now, why change it? Why disabuse people of their misconception? What possible advantage did Google think they gained by doing this? The only possible justification could be if Google were about to make it work properly. Let's face it, form the comments received, a great many people value this feature even simply as a way of doing things. I rather suspect that if you were to ask people if they thought Google worked better now or worse now that the "search within results" feature has been "removed", you will ffind the vast majority will claim google doesn't work as well for them. Google may say there is no difference and that the users don't know what they are talking about but, and it is a big but, it really is all about perception. Quite simply, users will not have as good a search experience as they used to have irrespective of whether the actual search results are any different or not. This may be a logical move by the technicians but from a marketing and customer service perspective Google should never have changed this feature (except for a new and improved version that actually works the way it should) especially as they have nothing to put in its place. One suspects this was a discussion the technicians won and Marketing lost. This could be Google's Ratner moment (go Google Ratner moment). Top entry says it all. It doesn't do to disillusion the paying public. In Ratner's case he told the truth but that did him no good at all and there was absolutely no benefit from him telling that particular truth. Wiki says: "Today, Ratner's speech is still famous in the corporate world as an example of the value of branding and image over quality. Such gaffes are now sometimes called "Doing a Ratner"." get the message? Me, I am so incensed I just made Bing my default search engine.


02/14/2011 10:25 pm

Clearly this decision was made by someone who doesn't and hasn't done data mining. It is definitely a WTF move. Its all wonderful that you "think" it will work the same, however it doesn't. If I am lookign for something specific and coult type say "Kelly F. from Google explained that although the link is missing" then under search within results "Google made it quicker to use" and locate a passage of information I wanted. NOW, nada. Guess I will check to see what Bing can offer. I don't know where else to turn. That was just dumb. NO, you can't do what I described from the new format. I tried it suks but such is life. Some bozo had to make a change.


02/20/2011 08:49 pm

she forgot to mention that if you add all of your search Google uses them all in the search, together and independently, adding to the number of useless results you have to search through. When Google first came out, possible before Kelly was asking any question about it, it was the best search engine on the entire net, but the last few years I have noticed a decline in it's performance, which saddens me greatly, but they have to go with the money, just like everyone else. It's just a shame that it requires them to lower their standards and credibility so much .


02/20/2011 08:55 pm

I understand your rage, but Bing, my God man please think this over, remember how they creep ed into your computer?


02/20/2011 08:58 pm

Now, you get twenty thousand horoscopes


02/20/2011 09:01 pm

OH, how about that instance search crap too


02/28/2011 12:06 pm

Because of this specific feature Google WAS my 1st choice for search. But now Google is last choice after I try several others.


03/04/2011 10:29 pm

please others like what?> kindly post to google is dumb

David Hayse

03/18/2011 06:52 pm

Please add "Search Within" back to Google. Google used to be a powerful search engine - now its just like the others!


03/20/2011 10:33 am

I hope they bring back Search Within Results (SWR). The method outlined by Kelly is not helpful for a lot of users. BING is not bad, ASK so-so but I'm investigating other decent search engines. I don't think Google really cares now that they're HUGE. But they have definitely lost users due to removal of SWR.


04/23/2011 04:26 pm

THESE MORONS..seriously first I can't turn off instant at all even though the feature is on the Preferences page. It doesn't work. I tried 3 different browsers. And now this...


05/04/2011 11:09 am

Not really gone???????????? Oh, my eyes deceive me. I can't see it. Can anyone recommend an optician? Or perhaps I should Google for Goggles? Where abouts on the page is it please? Is it in White text on a white background? Can this woman actually answer the questions put to her? Can anyone tell me how we get the SWR back? What is the best search engine now that Google has slipped to being the worst?


05/19/2011 08:52 am

I am currently using Yandex on those occasions where SWR is required.  It's not perfect but it's getting there.  Pass the word and then maybe Google will see sense.


05/20/2011 02:01 pm

Well maybe its like Kelly F. explained above, but why wasn't it explained? Why do I have to abandon google for some months because of this and then to find a possible explanation here, after a tirering search? Its just stupid. Whoever did that, dont know sh*t about acting in an international web community, let alone simple communication and customer service. Just plain stupid. Oh my god I am angry, but will refrain from using a bunch of emoticons. Thanks to Barry Schwartz though, for making this important information public (although its well hidden).


05/20/2011 02:09 pm

 was the independent-word crap filtered out before, by the "search within results"? I remember it as if it was, but according to Kelly F., it was not. Whats up and whats down here??


05/20/2011 02:14 pm

I think this is a hard lesson of what happens when power is concentrated and not spread out.  We need more and better search engines and Google will not be one of them in the future.


05/20/2011 02:23 pm

 We just need a search engine thats publicly owner by us - the users. Call it an Open Source Search engine. The algorithms are not owned by anyone as it all depends on mathematics - a intellectual property of the human race altogether thank God.


05/20/2011 02:34 pm

 I have had several paranoid thoughts too. Maybe our governments (read: USA), thinks google was too powerful a tool for public use? In these civil-rights-violating times of international terror wars, this is not a totally crazy thought. Maybe the servers was overloaded by the huge succes the google search engine was before this? So this was a step to cool down the workload heat? Might as well close the internet entirely, to cool down the servers then haha... they did it with our economy! so again...this is not a totally crazy thought. ...remember that being paranoid, doesnt nescesarilly mean that you are wrong ... scary


05/20/2011 02:36 pm

 well maybe you just haven't been using google anyway, so why care...? I see you point dude...  :-S


06/26/2011 01:44 pm

Is there a Web page that supports the removal of SWR? I can't find one and surely that proves the public WANT SWR! Is there anyone out there technical enough to start a page with voting? Options would be simply: I am glad Google got rid of the SWR function or I am unhappy that Google got rid of the SWR Function Can someone suggest an alternative search engine as I am disgusted at Google for not acknowledging the error of their ways.

J Merch

07/02/2011 06:01 pm

"In reality, your new search terms were simply added on to your original entry and then another search was performed. We've eliminated that extra step you used to take to modify your results." That means you DID take away search within results. "Search Within Results" is a way of saying whatever method it is that Google was using whether it is searching within or adding on. It doesn't matter how the Google engine works! What matters is that this important feature of Google is no longer available. PLEASE BRING BACK SEARCH WITHIN RESULTS. Unless you are trying to hold back that power for yourselves. If it doesn't eventually come back, I will stop using Google...

James Roy

07/04/2011 06:15 am

I have a web page on a certain topic. When someone is googleing that topic, how do i find, whether my page was hit, if so, at what rank?

J Merch

07/05/2011 12:47 pm

I'm looking into this right now too. If anyone has a simple answer I would be glad to know as well. I liked using search within results for a myriad of things. I wanted to try to use it for a similar use as you are describing which is what also brought me to this thread as I was trying to see where my client's site was showing compared with the rest of the world when certain keywords are entered. We all know we can get on the first page of google when you combine a local city and a topic but what about a topic in general. I want to know how high my sites are getting ranked when they get in the Google system.

J Merch

07/05/2011 12:51 pm

A page with voting would be very easy with wordpress and a poll but the trick is to get folks voting. Also, polls can be made on facebook and can be posted in the newsfeed I believe. We could start a facebook page or app( facebook pages are apps). So maybe a group/club/fan page on facebook to bring back search within results on google. I'll look into making one today if there isn't one already. :)

advocatus leonibus

01/04/2012 01:27 pm

"Kelly F" is a liar or is uninformed. This functionality is totally not the same.  I used to be able to find things on Google, no matter how buried in garbage it was.  Now I cannot even find ways to separate the garbage into neat piles of garbage.  I miss Google when it was just a bloody search engine instead of a mega provider of the same corporate slop. 


02/27/2012 12:13 am



02/27/2012 12:15 am

"Kelly F" used so many words.  Ask any cop what a lot of words from a suspect means.  Spin, spin, spin.


02/27/2012 12:31 am

Use the "+" sign.  For example: "Spam Recipes"+"mushrooms"+"anchovies"


04/04/2012 10:53 am

I abandoned Google because they removed the "search within" feature for Bing's advanced search feature. Now Bing's advanced search is missing... Why? why are the search engines removing the search withins and advanced search?


10/28/2012 07:22 am

not relevant to the article


11/07/2013 05:08 pm

SWR is really needed on google. How the hell i am supposed to find for example where within the 232345 results for a search a specific page or site is located?


12/23/2013 08:45 pm

(Search within Results) Bring it back! What possible harm could it do? We want it, so bring it back! What's so hard about making it happen? Does it take too much room on the page? You're just being stubborn! Look at how many of us are posting, each one of us probably represent more than 100,000! Just do it!


01/19/2014 05:21 pm

That explanation is baloney - ten years ago, when I worked at Google, it really was search within results.


02/25/2014 03:37 am

Thank you. That is absolutely BS.

blog comments powered by Disqus