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Performing Better Searches
Perform Better Searches
Performing and perfecting search engine
results can save web surfers lots of time and energy.
Understanding the nuances of searching allows researchers
to immediately drill down and locate the information
they are seeking, without having to wade through a myriad
of irrelevant search results in the process. The increasing
complexity of search engines has made understanding
search engines a necessity for those who spend any amount
of time online. The following search tips are standards
that will work in most of the major search engines.
How To Find What You Are Looking For?
As the popularity of the Internet grows,
more and more results are returned for even the most
obscure search phrases. In order to save time, web surfers
need to increase their search relevancy. It is advisable
to use multiple search terms to produce better search
results. Searchers should use specific words and phrases
to find what they're are looking for, while filtering
out irrelevant and unwanted results.
In searching, more usually means less.
Using more keywords in a search will help qualify the
search and make it more specific to what you are looking
for. It is all about striking a balance; more search
terms will reduce the number of search results, but
those results will be more accurate. Remember that you
can always refine the search further if there are too
many results returned in the initial search.
Capitalization Is Irrelevant
The major search engines ignore capitalization.
Upper case and lower case search phrases will deliver
the same results.
Keep in mind that the order in which
the terms are entered into the search box will affect
the search results. The most important terms should
appear first in the list of search words.
Major search engines will provide results
that use word stemming. Word stemming includes variants
of the terms that were searched for. For example, searching
on the term fish in a major search engine will generate
organic search results that also contain the terms fishing,
fishes, and fisher.
Using quotations around a search phrase
will generate search results that contain only that
specific search phrase, exactly as it was entered. For
example, searching on the exact phrase "rocking horse"
in a major search engine will only generate search results
that contain the phrase rocking horse. The results
will not include any results that contain "horse
rocking" -- even though both terms appear, they
do not appear in the proper order for an exact match.
Do Not Include
Adding a (-) negative/minus sign before
a search term will filter the results so that they contain
the first term but not the negated word. For example,
entering the search phrase horses -rocking into
a major search engine will return search results about
horses but not about rocking horses.
If you want search results that only include
a specific word, just type a (+) plus sign in front
of a search term. The results produced will always contain
that term. For example, conducting a search horse
+ carousel will result in all search results that
contain carousel, and may include horse
Adding a (~) tilde character in front
of a search word will generate search results that not
only include the specified search term, but will also
include all words considered to be related to the original
search term. For example, using the search term ~soda
will result in organic search engine results that not
only include soda, but also include pepsi, pop, cola,
coke, bottle, and soft drink.
Adding an OR parameter between two search
terms will result in search listings that include either
the first or the second word in the search results.
For example, searching on the terms soda OR bottle
will generate search results that may contain both terms
soda bottle or it will produce results that contain
either soda or bottle but not both in
the same search listings.
Advanced Searches And Segmented Searches
Many search engines allow you to specify
the type of content you wish to search in. For example,
you can often search just news articles, just blogs,
or just images. If you are looking for a specific type
of media, segmenting your search can be helpful. Searches
can be conducted to locate webpages that contain a specific
language, or a specific file type (ie. pdf, rss, etc).
Simply use the search engine's advanced search option
and select the content, language, file type, etc to
filter your search results.
Search Meta Words
Meta keyword searches give search engines
special instructions. When the meta search words are
used, a specific type of search is conducted. Here are
some of the most common meta search terms...
When define: is used at the beginning of
a search word or phrase, the search engine results will
be a definition of the word or phrase.
When site: is entered in the search box,
followed by a domain, the search engine locates all
documents within a specific domain and all of its subdomains.
This is an easy way to get a rough idea of the number
of pages indexed on a domain.
When link: is used and followed by a URL, the
search results will include all the web pages that are
indexed by the search engine which contain links to
the specified URL.
When inurl: is used, followed by a keyword or
phrase, the search results will include links to web
pages that contain the specific keyword or phrase in
the urls themselves.
When intitle: is searched on in conjunction with
a keyword or phrase, the search engine locates search
results that contain the specified keyword or phrase
in the web page title.
Web surfers can save large amounts of
time and energy by optimizing their search techniques
with these helpful tips.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
audio recording and editing software.
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