In the old days of the internet, you could search for a relevant term and quickly get a few relevant results. But now, the internet is filled with blogs, spam websites and completely irrelevant pages designed to draw in viewers or install viruses. (Thank goodness that Google is refining the search engine results through their periodic updates.)
If you’re looking for useful information on the internet, it’s vital to understand how search results work. Here are the best tips for searching the internet, to get the results you want.
Try Different Search Engines
Many web browsers come with a pre-loaded search engine such as Bing, but this search engine is not always the best choice. Experiment with several different search engines, including Yahoo and Google. Different search engines produce different results, and you may enjoy some providers better than others. Ease of use is an individual thing, so pick the search engine that is easiest for you to use and produces the best results for your needs.
Pick the Right Keywords
Google and other search engines do not pick up filler words such as “the” and “an”, and searches are not formatted in question form unless you place the question in quotes. Thus it’s important to pick out the most important terms in the item you’re searching for and use those terms. For example, if you are searching for information on how to teach your dog to sit, you don’t need to type, “How can I make my dog sit?” or “How to train your dog to sit.” Instead, use the most important words, which are dog, train and sit.
You’ll also find that even the right keywords can have two different meanings. For example, if you have a small dog that is not able to get on your bed, couch or chair (assuming they are allowed!), you can type in your search box “small dog steps,” thinking you will get results for doggy ramps or stairs. But you will also get results that deal with steps for a small dog that deal with training or puppy education. You can look at the text below the link to make sure you are getting the right information.
Filter Search Results
If you’re looking for a news article, the most recent scholarly research or something that happened twenty years ago, the date of the search results matters. Filter your search results by date. You can fill in a specific date range, or you can select search results in the past day, month or year.
Use Search Engine Tools
Google and other search engines allow you to tailor your search results for your specific needs. If, for example, you’re looking for scholarly articles, you can use Google scholar. If you want to see images or items for sale, use the images or shopping tools.
Use Keyword Phrasing
Search engines pick up on the use of conjunctions such as “and” and “or” and quotation marks. If you are searching for a very specific item, take advantage of this capability. For example, if you want information about flea treatments and fleas, try searching for frontline and fleas. Google will return results that have both keywords. If you’d rather get the specific term, google for “frontline and fleas” using quotation marks.
Scanning out Advertisements
If you’re looking for reliable product information, it’s generally best to steer clear of advertisements. The top, highlighted Google search results are advertisements, and so are the sidebar results. Google puts a small disclaimer next to these ads saying “search ads” or “advertisements.” These can be useful for finding a specific product, but for more scholarly research or for reviews, avoid these sites.
Searching by Author
If you’re looking for a specific affiliation or author, add the author to your search terms. For example, if you want to read up on philosophy and Socrates, google the two terms together. If you want specific information from a specific website, put the website into the search bar along with the search terms you are seeking.
Avoiding Viruses and Spam
Viruses are frequently downloaded through .exe documents and flash displays. Try installing a flash blocker on your computer, which will allow you to view flash websites only when you click a button saying you want to do so. Similarly, if you see a download in Google search results, only click it if you know and trust the source. Otherwise, you may inadvertently download something that could harm your computer or compromise your privacy.
About the Author:
Jane Warren spends a lot of time on the internet, so she hates to waste time on irrelevant information. She loves to shop online, research and review products and services, and take classes online.