7 Best techniques to find information using search engines

Information these days keeps increasing with every breathe life takes. Loads and loads of pages turn up if you use the wrong keywords to find your desired result. Searching on the internet for any information has become a daunting task. You’re not the only person experiencing the irrelevant results searching problem. Many people have written on social media about the inaccurate results search engines have provided. In one such incident, a user reported on a microblogging site how his search for a VIP number for mobile phone resulted in a list of smartphones. He said his hours went in vain as he did not get his desired site from the search engine.

Until Search engine providers improve them here’s how we can still find our desired information using these effective search engine techniques 

1. Use specific keywords

Keywords are the terms that you use to find content on the internet. Making your keywords as specific as possible will help your search engine to track down the information that you want.

Suppose you want to prepare for an interview as a Medical Representative simply writing ‘medical representative’ results in 1 billion search results. Imagine the pain on your fingers and stress on your eyes looking at a billion links. Try to be as specific as you can with your search. If you search ‘prepare for medical representative interview’ the results are narrowed down to 84 million. So, be specific and use unique terms to find the best search result. 

2. Use Quotation marks

Enclosing a search term within quotation marks prompts the search engine to search for that specific word or phrase.

If the term is a single word, using quotation marks will cut out stemmed variations of it. For example, if you search for the word director, you’ll likely receive a lot of results for direct, direction, directions, and so on, too. Typing “director” (with quotation marks), however, will ensure that you only get results for that stem word.


If the search term is a phrase, your search will be for that specific phrase, rather than for all the component words as individual items. So, for example, if you search for the phrase best digital marketing courses by Indian digital marketers, without quotation marks, your search will return results based on all of the words in the phrase. Surrounding the term with quotation marks, however, will generate results that feature this specific term.


3. Remove Unhelpful Words

Inserting a hyphen/small dash/minus sign immediately before a word excludes it from a search. So imagine, for example, that you’re looking to find out more about affiliate marketing. However, you want to concentrate on affiliate marketing courses, whereas the internet appears to be full of references to digital and social media marketing courses, all of which are appearing in your search.

Typing in marketing -digital will exclude digital from the search, making it easier for you to find the information you’re looking for. Typing marketing -digital -social would allow you to get rid of even more clutter.


4. Refine your search using Operators

Other characters or terms, known as operators, allow you to narrow down your internet search in more targeted ways. We explore a few, below:

  • Wildcard Searches: use the * symbol as a placeholder for another word. For example, searching for * man in the world returns results for the richest man in the world, the tallest, the oldest, and so on. Wildcard searches are also useful when, for example, you don’t know the full text of a quote.

  • Combination Searches: the OR operator enables you to search for two or more terms simultaneously, and is most useful when those terms are very similar. Typing selling OR retailing, for example, will return pages where either of the terms is used, without both needing to be present.
    Another way to combine searches is to use AND. This operator ensures that you receive only search results that include two or more terms. For example, the search “L&T Computers” AND “Deodar Corporation” would only deliver search results that include the names of both companies.

  • Search a Specific Site: when you type site: followed by the URL of the website that you wish to search and a search term, you limit your search to a single website. So, site:findmyneedle.ml “search” will return all the pages from FindMyNeedle.ml that feature the term “search”

  • Finding Related Sites: another useful operator is related: Typing this in front of a web address that you already know – as in related:xyz.com – your search results will deliver a range of websites that are similar to xyz.com.


5. Dont use common words and punctuation

Common terms like a and the are called stop words and are usually ignored. Punctuation is also typically ignored. 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, Deepak and The Deepak return entirely different results.

6. Capitalisation

Common terms like a and the are called stop words 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, Raavan and The Raavan return entirely different results.

7. Maximise AutoComplete

Ordering search terms from general to specific in the search box will display helpful results in a drop-down list and is the most efficient way to use AutoComplete. Selecting the appropriate item as it appears will save time typing.

The bottom line

A tool is only as useful as the typing fingers wielding it. Remember that old acronym GIGO, garbage in, garbage out? Search engines will try to place the most relevant results at the top of the list, but if your search terms are too broad or ambiguous, the results will not be helpful. It is your responsibility to learn how to make your searches both fast and effective.


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