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How To Search Online: 23 Tips for Finding What You Need

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Jan 8, 2014 9:18:00 AM

This is a 5 minute read.
how to search online with Google

I'm always on the lookout for tips on how to search online more effectively and efficiently. These 23 tips for finding what you need represent a recap of two previous articles -  Search Tips To Find and Get Found Online and Google For Search & Discovery: TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series along with newly relevant (and discovered) ones. If you're like me, you'll enjoy exploring with them and coming across new discoveries.

Let me know which you find most valuable and how you use them to find what you need online.

23 Tips for Searching Online 

1. When you enter terms in a search window, keep it simple and focused. Describe what you are looking for with as few words as possible.

2. If you start with too broad a term [e.g., 'books'], modify it with descriptive words to narrow down your results [e.g., books by Jane Austen].

3. Make use of Google's search suggestions as you type in your search terms. (You'll also find suggestions when you search YouTube.

4. Make use of Google Search operators (see below for specifics).

5. Use quotes around your search terms to indicate that you are looking for exact terms. [e.g., try mosaic tile and compare the results to typing those words without quotes]

6. To search within a website use [search term]

7. To search only specific regions or types of domains, use site:[.org] or site:[.ca]

8. To search for related websites, try

9. To exclude terms use -[search term]” as in “-job” (according to the Google for research article below, "images and news will not be affected")

10. To exclude results from a specific website, ""

11. To find synonyms use “~[search term]” as in "~garlic"

12. To find exactly a term use “+[search term]” as in "+garlic"

13. Don't forget wildcards! Try * [fill in blank]

14. OR is used to search for any terms. Use it in caps.

15. AND is used to find all terms. Use it in caps.

16. To view the cached view of a website, use (the Way Back Machine can come in handy, too). 

17. You can use define:[search term] to get a definition

18. To fine tune a search on all of the terms in a page's title tag, use allintitle:[search term]

19. To search on some of the terms in the title tag, use intitle:[search term]

20. To search on the terms in a page's content, use allintext:[search term]

21. To search on the terms in a URL, try allinurl:[search term]

22. To find pages that link to a specific page, try

23. To search on specific file types, try [term] filetype:[.file extension]

Valuable Searching Online Resources   

If you're fascinating with search and what you can find simply from a search window (zip code, UPS tracking code, translation...), you'll want to explore Google Inside Search - Tips & Tricks. For a sampling, check out the listing below...

Google search tips tricks resized 600

Other valuable search online resources:

What would you add to this list? Which is your favorite online search tip?





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