Chances are, you are not the first person to run into the problem, trying to find needle in haystack. Where internet is more than haystack and needed / crucial information could be a needle. Chances are also good that a solution is awaiting your discovery on the internet — you simply need to take away the inapplicable pages and also the unhelpful / incorrect results to find that needle.
Google has been fanatic regarding speed. It is working unbelievably quick and is going thorough huge data. Sadly, the human part of the internet search equation is usually not considered. These ten tips are designed to boost that human part and improve your internet search skills. (All examples below are for Google search engine.)
1. Use unique, specific terms
It is amazing how many results are returned when searching on web. You might guess that the terms green dog are relatively specialized. A Google search of those terms returned 425,000,000 results! To reduce the number of pages returned, use unique terms that are specific to the subject you are researching.
2. Use the minus operator (-) to narrow the search
How many times have you ever searched for a term and had the search engine return with entirely unexpected? Terms with multiple meanings will return loads of unwanted results. The rarely used however powerful minus operator, like a Boolean NOT, will take away several unwanted results. For example, once sorting out the insect caterpillar, references to the corporate Caterpillar, Inc. will be included as well. Use Caterpillar -Inc to exclude references to the corporate or Caterpillar -Inc -Cat to more refine the search.
3. Use quotation marks for exact phrases
I typically remember components of phrases I actually have seen on a web page or a part of a quotation i would like to trace down. Using quotation marks around a phrase can display solely those actual words in that order. It’s one of the simplest ways to limit the results. Example: “honesty is very expensive gift”. Of course, you want to have the phrase specified exactly.
4. Don’t use common words and punctuation
Common terms like a and the are called stop words (stop words usually refer to the most common words in a language, there is no single universal list of stop words used by all natural language processing tools, and indeed not all tools even use such a list. Some tools specifically avoid removing these stop words to support phrase search. Any group of words can be chosen as the stop words for a given purpose. For some search engines, these are some of the most common, short function words, such as the, is, at, which, and on. In this case, stop words can cause problems when searching for phrases that include them, particularly in names such as “The Who”, “The The”, or “Take That”. Other search engines remove some of the most common words—including lexical words, such as “want”—from a query in order to improve performance) and are usually ignored. Punctuation is also typically ignored. But there are exceptions. Common words and punctuation marks should be used when searching for a specific phrase inside quotes. There are cases when common words like the are significant. For instance, Spider and The Spider return entirely different results.
Most search engines do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase, even within quotation marks. The following are all equivalent:
6. Drop the suffixes
It’s usually best to enter the base word so that you don’t exclude relevant pages. For example, girl and not girls, dance and not dances. One exception is if you are looking for sites that focus on the act of dancing, enter the whole term dancing.
7. Maximize AutoComplete
Use Google AutoComplete. The standard Google start page will display a drop-down list of suggestions supplied by the Google search engine. This option can be a handy way to discover similar, related searches. For example, typing in Wendy’s fast will not only bring up the suggestion Wendy’s fast food but also Wendy’s fast food coupons. Use browser AutoComplete. Use this Google start page to disable the Google AutoComplete feature and display a list of your previous searches in a drop-down box. I find this particularly useful when I’ve made dozens of searches in the past for a particular item.
8. Customizing your searches
There are some other less known ways to limit the number of results displayed and reduce your search time:
The plus operator (+): As mentioned above, stop words are typically ignored by the search engine. The plus operator tells the search engine to include those words in the result set.
The tilde operator (~): Include a tilde in front of a word to return results that include synonyms. The tilde operator does not work well for all terms and sometimes not at all. A search for ~CSS includes the synonym style and returns fashion related style pages —not exactly what someone searching for CSS wants. Examples: ~HTML to get results for HTML with synonyms; ~HTML -HTML to get synonyms only for HTML.
The wildcard operator (*): Google calls it the fill in the blank operator. For example, amusement * will return pages with amusement and any other term(s) the Google search engine deems relevant. You can’t use wildcards for parts of words. So for example, amusement p* is invalid.
The OR operator (OR) or ( | ): Use this operator to return results with either of two terms. For example happy joy will return pages with both happy and joy, while happy | joy will return pages with either happy or joy.
Numeric ranges: You can refine searches that use numeric terms by returning a specific range, but you must supply the unit of measurement. Examples: Windows 10 2016 PC $150 $300.
Site search: Many Web sites have their own site search feature, but you may find that Google site search will return more pages. When doing research, it’s best to go directly to the source, and site search is a great way to do that. Example: site:svanews.wordpress.com ringtone or site:svanews.wordpress.com remove malware
Related sites: For example, related:www.youtube.com can be used to find sites similar to YouTube.
Change your preferences: Search preferences can be set globally by clicking on the gear icon in the upper-right corner and selecting Search Settings.
Advanced searches: Click the Advanced Search button by the search box on the Google start or results page to refine your search by date, country, amount, language, or other criteria.
File types: If you just want to search for .PDF files, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets, for example, use the “filetype:” operator. e.g. tax calculator 2016 filetype:xls
Location of term: By default, Google searches for your term throughout a web page. But if you just want it to search certain locations, you can use operators such as “inurl:”, “intitle:”, “intext:”, and “inanchor:”. Those search for a term only within the URL, the title, the body text, and the anchor text (the text used to describe a link). e.g.: inurl:tax
9. always Set a time limit — then change approach
Sometimes, you just can not find what you are looking for, but you still don’t want to give up. when a certain amount of time is spent without results, stop torturing yourself. It’s time to try something litlebit differently:
- Use a different search engine, like Yahoo!, Bing, duckduckgo or yandex.
- find appropriate forum and Ask a question.
I hope this tips will make your search experience more easy in the future.