If you understand how to perform sophisticated searches of online information, you will greatly increase your chances of finding what you want. If you know the right commands and usage, you will not only find the information but also save plenty of time.
Here are a few good tips that you can use to enhance your search
Using Phrase Searching
Enclosing the words in quotation marks makes the search engine return only webpages containing the exact phrase. Here is an example: If you search information using “make money” as your search query, the search engine will not show you the webpages which do contain make and money but are not in that order. This will also eliminate pages containing make and money in entirely different paragraphs, a major problem when you search without quotes.
If you are looking for information on designing, you could use it as your keyword. However, if your results are limited in number and you want to broaden your search, you can use a root part of the word and abbreviate it with an asterisk (design*). The engine will return links to pages containing design, designs, designer, designers, and so on.
Using Capital Sensitivity
If a search keyword is capitalized, the search engine will return only documents containing the capitalized word.
Using Boolean Logic
These are perhaps the most useful feature in defining search criteria. Boolean operators provide us with powerful control. AND, OR, NOT, NEAR and parentheses are various Boolean operators that we can use to define our search better.
Note:All Boolean operators are to be written in capital letters otherwise search engine would treat them as keywords
AND is used when you want a webpage that should contain all of your keywords. The search engine will display only those pages that have both keywords. For example: Using the search keywords internet AND business would return all pages that have both the words.
OR is used if you want to broaden your search to find webpages that contain either of the keywords. This is very useful tool when searching for terms that have synonyms. An example is money OR wealth, which would return any webpage that had either of the keywords.
This operator is similar to but more specific form of the AND operator. Not only it ensures that the document contains both terms but also that they are located near each other. I find this a better operator as AND can return in pages which have two keywords far away and not relevant enough.
NOT or AND NOT
If you use capitalized AND NOT preceding a search term, it would eliminate webpages that contain that term. If you want to find information on info products and do not want documents that include information relating to audio-books could use “info products” AND NOT audio-books.
Note:The usage depends on the engine. Both NOT and AND NOT have same role
AND, NEAR, OR and AND NOT, when used in conjunction with parentheses offer substantial control over the search logic used by the engine. We would understand use of parentheses by an example.
If you want to find a business tutorial you may use the search term as business AND (tutorial OR lesson). This would tell the search engine that webpages returned must contain both of the words business and tutorial or business and lesson. The parentheses distribute the keyword business to either of the two “OR” words inside the symbols.
Similarly if you were looking for information on cyberlaw you might want to use “cyberlaw” OR (legislation AND internet), which would return documents with the words cyberlaw or documents containing the word internet and the word legislation.
You can even nest one set of parentheses inside another to further refine the search. Since the word law/laws is a synonym of legislation we can truncate law and do this.
“cyberlaw” OR (interent AND (law* OR legislation))
This would tell engine to search for cyberlaw or pages containing internet and law(s) or internet and legislation.
Note: Some engines use + or - sign instead of AND and NOT. For example for searching home business you can use home+business [ No space between word and +]. and search will bring the pages containing both terms.
Using Specific Searches
If search engine offers you can limit searches to specific areas, the most common being the document title and URL.
Title search: If you are looking for information on search engine optimization and think that there are entire web pages devoted to your subject having the keywords in the titles, you can use:
title: search engine optimization.
Similarly you can do a URL search. If you are looking for all pages from Microsoft, you could use: url: Microsoft, which would return web pages created by Microsoft and others having Microsoft in URl.
Using Restricted Searches
Some engines allow you to limit your searches to “country” or “newsgroups” or blogs. Some search engines also allow you to search specific media such as audio, video, images etc.
I hope these tips will help you to make searching a better experience.