Tech Tip Advanced Web Search Techniques

Internet search techniques

The internet is big, really, really big.  And it keeps growing bigger every day.  If you want to search it effectively you’re going to need to develop a couple of tricks to help you narrow the search.  Here’s a few real easy ones to integrate into your next search:

Using +, – and “ “ (quotes)
to narrow your searches:

Lets say you were looking up apples on Google.com.  If you just type in “apples” you get 22 million returns.  A few more sites than you can check in an afternoon so lets narrow the search down.  Let’s say that what you’re really interested in is green apples.  To see all the apple websites that also have the word “green” on them type this:

search1

Now you will only see those apple sites that also have the word green on them.  Unfortunately we are still getting almost 6 million returned websites:

search2

To narrow the search even more lets eliminate a word.  For example, some of the websites are also about Apple Computers so lets get rid of them by typing this:

search3

That reduced about 1 million of the returns but we still have about 5 million web pages to check out.  A final way to narrow the search is to use quotes to narrow the search to an exact phrase.  For example if what we’re really interested in is granny smith apples we can add that to the search like this:

search4

Now I will only see websites that have the words “granny smith” on them in that order spelled the way I spelled them.  Using quotes is always a great way to narrow a search and in my example I was able to go from having 22 million web pages returned from my original search for “apples” to around 220,000 by my last example.