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May 15, 2019

Tips to Help You Find Results Faster in Search Engines

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Search engines are our map to the internet. Without them, we’d be lost in the URL-shuffle. They have been around since the dawn of the internet and in their almost 30 years of existence, they have also become more innovative and intelligent when returning results for a question. Many search engines even have handy tricks built in to make your searches faster and more relevant, but not everyone knows about them. Some of those tricks include:

  • Defining your search
  • Using quotation marks
  • Substituting unknown words with asterisks
  • Excluding items with the minus sign
  • Searching for terms within a site
  • Finding related websites
  • Using multiple search terms with OR
  • Starting simple
  • Writing as if you were the website

Defining Your Search

Before beginning your search, tell the engine exactly what you’re looking for. Most search engines have tabs that let you search for all results, or narrow it down to images, news, and more.

Using Quotation Marks in Search Engines

When looking for something specific, try using quotation marks around your search term. This will tell many search engines to search for the full phrase, rather than just bits and pieces of it.

Substituting Unknown Words with Asterisks

Hear a song you really liked but can’t remember all of the lyrics to search for it? Don’t worry! In most cases, you can substitute an asterisk (*) with the words you don’t know, and the search engine will do its best to fill in those words for you.

Excluding Items with the Minus Sign

Sometimes, a single term has two different definitions and writing it into a search engine will give you results for both. If you want to filter out results from the other definition, write -Search Term. For example, if you were to look up the term ram but didn’t want search results for the truck brand Ram, you could search ram -truck and some search engines will filter out responses related to trucks.

Searching for Terms Within a Site

Occasionally, you may read content on a specific website that you need to find later but can’t. Many search engines are able to search within a website using the phrase site: (for example, if you read an article about a cat named Moxie on your local animal shelter’s website, you can search Moxie site:localanimalshelter.com).

Finding Related Websites

If you love a particular website, whether it’s for clothes, news, online games or anything else and want to find more sites similar to it, many search engines have your back. Just use the phrase related:thiswebsiteilove.com.

Using Multiple Search Terms with OR

In some circumstances, a particular search might return more results if it were phrased in more than one way. Instead of doing multiple searches, some search engines allow you to do all of your related queries at once by separating them with the word OR. For example: Best ways to make a roast chicken OR How to make a roast chicken.

Starting Simple

Search engines return results to you by taking the keywords you type into the search bar, and scanning websites for those words. The more keywords you give, the greater margin for error when a search engine returns results to you.

Writing as if You Were the Website

Like we just mentioned, search engines search by using the keywords you provide. If you type in a long phrase using words you would speak out loud, you may have a harder time finding accurate results. Instead, you need to search using phrases websites are most likely to use. So, instead of typing how do I get over my cold, try cold remedies.

Speed up your searches and get better results with these tips. Happy searching!

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