How to Use Search Engines Effectively

It’s nearly impossible to use the Internet effectively without employing a search engine. However, many people believe Google is so powerful that it can discern your intent from a few hastily chosen words. Employ these efficient search tactics and you could see a major improvement in your online search results.

Think About What You Really Want

It always pays to stop and think about the type of page you’re really looking for with your search. Where do you want your search terms to appear? Use the prefix “allintext:” before your search phrase and you’ll find pages that have these words in the text. Use “allintitle:” instead and your results will only include pieces with your search phrase in the title. “Allinurl:” narrows the field further by returning pages that have your phrase directly in the URL. Be careful with this unless you’re after a specific page, since many informative pages have an unexpected web address.

You can also use “intext:” “intitle:” and “inurl:” to search for some, but not all, of the words in your search query. Including “all” means that you won’t find pages that are missing one of your search terms.

Use Quotes Appropriately

Putting quotes around your search term is a handy way to refine the search. Search for strawberry shortcake without any quotes and you’ll find pages related to both strawberries and shortcake, though they may not occur together in the same recipe. “Strawberry shortcake” in quotes limits your search to this specific dish. Combine properly used search phrases and quotes with fast dsl from centurylink to get your results as quickly as possible.

Avoid Stop Words

Search engines disregard commonly used words such as “a,” “an,” “the,” “as,” “by,” “he,” “her,” “if,” and “how.” A full list of stop words reveals an extensive range of phrases that aren’t helping your search much, if at all. Avoid stop words and focus on the true intent of your search. Try phrasing the answer instead of the question. Instead of searching “How tall is The Rock,” try “The Rock height.”

Get to Know Search Operators

Search operators are your best friends when it comes to refining a search. Try these Google search operators:

  • Exclude a word from your results with a dash: -word
  • Confine your search to a single site with the site prefix:
  • Insert a wildcard term in a search phrase with an asterisk: “quick as a *”
  • Search for one or the other with OR: 2010 OR 2012
  • Search within a number range with two periods: $100,000..$150,000
  • Specify the writer with author: Author:Wall
  • Include related words with a tilde: ~brown

Grab Fast Answers

Google will give you fast answers to common questions if you phrase your search correctly. These answers appear at the top of the search results. Try these:

  • Define:word brings up the definition
  • Entering a mathematic equation will bring up the answer
  • Get a fast conversion with “5 units in units” replacing “units” with the information you have and need, IE “5 inches in centimeters”

These handy tricks will increase the efficiency of every search you complete and help you find quality results in no time.

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