5 Top Tips for Effective Internet Searches

graphic of a browser search bar
This blog post contains 5 power tips for marketeers, researches, archivists, historians, basically anyone who uses Google search on a professional level - learn search engines clever, but little known protocols...

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Internet search skills will give you the ability to find what you want quickly. They enable you to find valuable information you might not have specified in your search query. The following nuggets will improve your searches and make them way more productive. We’re using Google here for most of our examples, but they will work on all major search engines.

1. Narrow your search results using minus and plus signs

The plus and minus signs are used to narrow internet search results. The plus sign is used to find two words that are both on a webpage but not necessarily in the order they are typed. In order to get the desired results, you should use a space before the plus sign. Then, the search term you wish to include in the search results should be typed immediately after the plus sign.

On the contrary, the minus sign is used to exclude a word or phrase from the search results. Just as with the addition sign, use a space afore the minus sign. The word you wish to exclude should be typed immediately after the minus sign. For instance, if you want to search for “Tom Ford” and you do not want to get Ford Motors, you can simply exclude the latter by using the minus sign, that is, “Tom Ford” -Motors.

2. Type your search phrase in quotes

You can save a lot of time by typing your search phrase in quotes. By using quotation marks around a search phrase, you instruct the search engine to only look for webpages that contain the terms in your search phrase. The search engine will retrieve webpages that include your search terms in the order you typed them. This search method works in many search engines and is really effective in bringing back focused results.

Therefore, if you want to look for an exact phrase, just type it in quotes. For example, if you want to search for long-legged birds, type this phrase in quotes as “long-legged birds” and submit the search query. Your search results will contain the three words in the order you typed and in proximity to each other.

3. Use Google instead of site search tools

Have you ever tried to use a site’s search tool to find something unsuccessfully? Well, it is because site search tools are not as great as search engines. Search engines like Google cannot be rivaled by any website’s search tool. Google provides a great way to search within a website and get the information you need. Just go to Google’s search bar and types the word “site” followed by a colon, then the web address of the site you want to search and your search terms in quotes. For example, site:easthalldesign.com “social media” search query will bring back results from only this website that are related to social media.

4. Search words within a website address

You can search within a web address using the “inurl” command. This command enables you to search for web addresses that contain a particular word or phrase. This is just another quick way to search the internet and find sites that you may not have found by conducting a normal search through Google’s search bar. To search within web addresses, just go to Google’s search bar and type the word “inurl” followed by a colon and then your search term. For instance, if you want to find web addresses with the word design, you should type your search query as inurl:aerobics. The search results will only include web addresses with the word aerobics.

5. Limit your search to a specific top-level domain

Sometimes you can get better search results if you limit your search to a specific top-level domain. This means your search will focus on websites with domain extensions such as .org, .edu, and .gov. This internet search technique works in most popular search engines. It is a great way to limit your search to a very specific level and thereby increase the relevance of your search results. For instance, you may want to search something from government-related sites. You can limit your search to government sites by typing the command “site:gov” followed by your search term. This search query will bring back results only from government-related websites.

The above tips should significantly reduce your searching time and help you find information with minimum grind. 

Make your searches more successful by using these tactics on a variety of search engines. If you are searching for very specific information, you might be overwhelmed by the huge amount of information available in a SERP. However, don’t loose hope! Try out the above tips!

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