I encountered something strange and I'm wondering if anyone has an explanation. I search for:

keyword site:mysite.com

Let's say I get 10 results for this search.

When I'm searching two keywords, like below, I expect a maximum of 10 results. Since I didn't specify anything Google should search for BOTH words. How is it possible that Google returns more results?

another keyword site:mysite.com

Any explanation is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • do you mean keyword1 keyword2 site:mysite.com? Because that is something normal unless keyword1 and keyword2 only appear on exactly the same pages, which you didn't mention. Also you didn't mention if you checked that the results are correct, so we assume they are.
    – PatomaS
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 14:25
  • As far as I checked all results contain both keywords. Like it should as Google is searching for both keywords..
    – Jack33
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 15:17
  • It would be useful to have a specific example to look at. It is worth noting that the keyword doesn't actually have to be on the page in the results unless you wrapped the keyword in quotation marks (Google will use synonyms and semantic relevance to return results).
    – zigojacko
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


This is expected behaviour. When you add more keywords to your search you add more possibilities of pages within your site to match any of those keywords. Search engines work on the assumption of an or search criteria meaning "show any pages that matches "another" or "keyword". Words that match both are just considered more relevant than those that do not. To make this search and and search you either have to use the + operator before each keyword or wrap the search terms in quotes (meaning exactly this phrase).

  • As far as I know Google dropped support for the + operator a while back and all searched work with the and paramater by default. If you want to search for either of the keywords, not both, you should use another OR keyword
    – Jack33
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 15:11
  • Google most definitely has NOT dropped support for the + operator. Just go ahead and test it. Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 17:51
  • It's not on Google Support: link! Especially the part Search for either word. I quote: "Without the OR, your results would typically show only pages that match both terms." I know it says typically but I assume (I know, assumption) that Google uses AND except when there are zero results. Then it'll go OR.
    – Jack33
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 18:25
  • @JohnConde Reread your answer after your edit. What you say makes perfectly sense and that how I was used search engines work. But still, it's not what this page says. What do I make of that?
    – Jack33
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 18:30
  • I know the + operator is not listed there but it still works so support for it is very much still there.
    – John Conde
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 18:33

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