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Five Tips to Search Effectively
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Jan. 25, 2013 5:15 a.m.

I received an email the other day for a request to help find some specific information. The reader said they weren't finding any relevant information for the topic on Google search engine. So today, I'm going to give you five tips to help refine your search results quickly.
1. Use more than one search engine
a. No two search tools are alike. The results produced be radically be different depending on the search engine used. Each search engine has a different way it organizes (indexes) a site into its catalog of websites. Try searching the same term or set of terms in the search engines below and see if there is a difference in the results.
2. Simply vs. advance search
Learning to work with the Advanced Search modes does not take much more time or energy to use. It allows you to work with more search options and retrieve sites that are more relevant. I have found in several small search engines that you will get different results from the simple vs. the advance modes. If the search engine offers an advance mode, there will typically be a link near the search box to go to the advance mode.
3. Maximum your search results
Quotations. When you enter bicycle shop search tools do not know whether a search is for "bicycle" or "shop." Typically the results will display any website that has bicycle or shop in the title, description, or content. Use quotations to surround a phrase such as "bicycle shop." Some search engines in simple modes like Alta Vista, often produce less effective results with quotation, so it is best to switch to the advance mode if you want to use quotations. (Needs help not sure how to change it to make sense)
Add a Location. By adding a location you are telling the search engine that you want to focus your results in one particular location. For example if you want to search for a local "bicycle shop" the browser may give you thousands of results but none of them local. But if I added "bicycle shop Leavenworth, KS" the number one result is Santa Fe Bicycle and Coffee Shop in Leavenworth, KS.
Add a Store Name. When searching for a particular item at a store's website, enter "Amazon Coffee Tables". The search engine will conduct a secondary search just within Amazon.com for coffee tables.
4. Limit your time on the results page
If you have not found what you are looking for in the first 20 to 50 sites, give it up and go no further. I generally stop at page three of the results page and use Ctrl-F (the find feature) to help navigate search results faster. I can quickly scan the page using Ctrl-F locate specific keywords or phase to cut down my time on the page.
5. Ask a question.
If all else fails or you don't know where to start - pull up your favorite search engine and ask it a question. You might find your answer to a similar question in the results.
Happy Searching

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