It can be extremely difficult to figure out how to find what you want with a search engine. While some people seem to be able to type in just a few words and find exactly what they want, you may find yourself struggling and searching through pages of unrelated searches.
They may have just mastered the art of using a search engine. If you follow a few of these helpful tips, you’ll be able to search expertly as well.
1. Use exact phrases
If you’re looking for information about the movie “The Last House on the Left,” just typing in all the words as is will get you results with “last,” “house,” and “left” all in the page but not necessarily all together.
To tell the search engine you want to see results that have those words in that order only, put quotes around them: “The Last House on the Left.” This can drastically narrow down your search.
2. Make keywords specific
Searching for troubleshooting help with your mp3 player? Instead of typing, “broken mp3 player,” be as specific as you can. “Broken first generation iPod Classic” narrows down your search, weeding out all the people looking for help with their Microsoft Zunes and Classic Lab Zens.
“First generation iPod Classic won’t charge” narrows it even further. The more specific information you can add, the easier it is to find what you want.
3. Weed out words
Let’s say you’re searching for information about fireflies, but every time you search for “fireflies,” you get a lot of results about the song “Fireflies” by Owl City.
You want to search for information about the animal without seeing all the results for the song. How do you that? Simply tell the search which words to leave out.
You do this with a minus sign: “fireflies – owl.” If Owl City is mentioned on the page, you won’t see it. It’s a great way to find exactly what you’re searching for.
4. Look at the previews
When a search engine shows you your results page, you don’t have to open up each page to find out if it’s what you need. Below the page title, it will have a short paragraph that shows you where your keywords fit in.
Skimming the previews will give you a good idea of whether this page will answer your question or not.
5. Use strong keywords
Leave off the words that don’t directly connect to your search and only search for the strongest keywords. For example, if you’re trying to find out how to make a healthy fruit smoothie, you could try to search “how can I make a good healthy fruit smoothie that has bananas and raspberries in it.”
That is a very long query, and is probably going to show you a lot of results that aren’t quite right. Narrow it down to the essential keywords. You don’t need full sentences.
Type, “healthy smoothie banana raspberry recipe.” The search engine knows the most important parts of your search, and you’ll get much better results.
It may take a little practice with these tips to get the hang of it, but soon you’ll be searching like a pro. Once that happens, you can pass these tips along to somebody else who asks you how you find things online so quickly.
And if they want to know where they can get the reliable Internet connection they’ll need, tell them to check out the options for satellite internet in your area.