Knowledge is power, and access to that knowledge often starts with a search engine query. From academia to the business world, effective web search skills can drastically enhance productivity, saving time, and ensuring access to the most pertinent and useful information. But are you truly making the most out of your search engine?
Here are seven advanced web search techniques to supercharge your productivity:
Use Quotation Marks For Exact Phrases
When you simply search Google or type a URL, the results you get are based on relevance to all the words you typed in, in any order. However, if you’re looking for a specific phrase, enclose it within quotation marks. This tells the search engine that you want that exact phrase, in that exact order, rather than the words appearing separately. This can save significant time when searching for specific quotations, song lyrics, or phrases from a book or article.
Employ The Power Of The Asterisk
When you’re trying to find a quote but can’t remember one or two words, the asterisk (*) comes in handy.
Place the asterisk in the spot where you’ve forgotten the word, and Google will try to fill in the blank with the most likely option. This technique is a lifesaver when you can remember most, but not all, of a critical piece of information.
If you know that the information you need is on a particular website, you can use the ‘site:’ operator to search only within that site. For example, if you’re looking for a specific article about AI on the BBC website, you could type ‘AI site:bbc.co.uk’ into Google. This refines your search to only results from that website, saving you from trawling through pages of irrelevant results.
Search For Specific File Types
This technique is a productivity booster, especially for students and researchers. If you’re looking for a specific file type, such as a PDF, you can use the ‘filetype:’ operator.
For example, ‘global warming filetype:pdf’ would return PDF files on global warming. This technique can be used for various file types like ppt, doc, xls, etc., offering an easy way to find downloadable content on your topic.
Use A Minus Sign To Exclude Terms
If your search is bringing up a lot of results that are not relevant, you can exclude certain words using the minus (-) sign. For example, if you’re looking for information about eagles but keep getting results for the Philadelphia Eagles, you could search for ‘eagles -Philadelphia.’ This tells the search engine to exclude results that include the word ‘Philadelphia.’
Find Related Sites
If you’ve found a website that you find particularly useful and want to find other, similar sites, you can use the ‘related:’ operator.
For example, ‘related:bbc.co.uk’ would bring up other news sites that Google considers similar to the BBC. This can be a great way to discover new resources that you might not have found otherwise.
Use The ‘Around’ Operator For Proximity Searches
If you’re searching for two terms that you expect to appear close to each other in the text, use the ‘AROUND’ operator. For example, ‘Apple AROUND(3) iPhone’ will bring up pages where ‘Apple’ and ‘iPhone’ appear within three words of each other. This is a powerful technique for pinpointing more relevant results when two related terms are involved.
The world of information is vast and can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, by learning and applying advanced web search techniques, you can significantly enhance your productivity by locating precisely what you need, when you need it. Harness the full power of search engines to streamline your work or study process, saving time and boosting your effectiveness. Remember, in the realm of the internet, a well-crafted search query is your most potent tool.