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Tips for Better Web Searches

Are you looking for ways to do a more effective web search via a search engine? Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Use quotation marks for precise phrases

If you remember particular phrases or parts of thequotation you can make your search more specific by using quotation marks at the beginning and end of the phrase. The results will then only include ones that contain those words.

One catch-22 is that the phrase must be 100% right. If you have a good memory this can be quite an effective way to search for something on the net you saw before. On the other hand, if you’re having problems remembering an exact quote/phrase on a site then you should probably avoid adding the quotes in your search.

  1. Use capitalization sparingly

It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of search engines aren’t case sensitive. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you use uppercase or lowercase letters. That’s even true when you use quotation marks outside the phrases. If you use the same search engine usually then you should research whether or not that’s the case. It will help to determine whether or not you should use capitalization when conducting your searches.

  1. Add the minus operator to fine-tune your search

You’ve probably had the experience of conducting a search then the results return something you weren’t looking for. One effective tool is the minus operator that’s equal to the “not” symbol in Boolean logic. The minus sign can help to remove several unwanted results.

For example, let’s say that you want to search for the insect caterpillar but not the manufacturer of heavy construction equipment. Type “Caterpillar –Inc” to remove references to the company. If you want an even more specific search you can type “Caterpillar –Inc –Cat” That will help to make your search even more specific to the future butterflies.

  1. Use specific terms

When doing searches it’s important to use unique and specific terms. The number of web pages that are required when you conduct an online search are quite high. Even terms that seem to be somewhat specific can return millions of results.

The solution for reducing how many pages are returned is to use unique terms that are very specific to whatever subject you’re researching.

  1. Don’t use common words/punctuation

Here’s another way to make your searches more specific. For example, avoid using articles like “an” and “the. These are known as “stop words” and the search engine’s algorithm usually ignores them. On the other hand, when you’re looking for a specific phrase between quotation marks you should make sure to add common words. It can make a big difference in that case so it’s something you should include.

  1. Don’t use suffixes

If you’re doing a search you should generally drop suffixes. For example, “walk” is better than “walking.” The exception is if you’re looking for sites that include a verb that functions as a noun. An example is a site that’s about the activity walking.

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