Internet Search tips and tricks

Ed Rudel Special Search Tips (Click on link to hear the segment of our 4/09/11 program where we discuss the tips and the new addition to the Toolkit)

Can you imagine the internet without web search capabilities?   We would have to know specific web site addresses for every web site we visit.  A simple comparison would be memorizing all of the phone numbers we use on a daily basis and if we needed to find a new business or person we would have to look the information using the yellow or white pages.

Internet search portals provide the ability to type in a simple name, phase, or question and display a list of web site links that contain the words you provided.  These search results can be overwhelmingly huge and may or may not pertain to the information you were looking for.

The more specific the information you provide (the search criteria) the better the results.  Internet sites like “Google, Bing, Yahoo, or are continuously refining and improving but there are a number of tips you can use to improve your Search results on your favorite Internet search site.

If you have an Internet Search tip or trick, send it to and I may include it into the list below.

Be specific – When you first start your search type in as much information as possible. This will reduce the number of unrelated items when the search is performed. Instead of typing the search phrase – unable to receive emailtype in the specific error message and what program is generating the error. Example: Outlook express Error 0x800c0133Furture, you can include the Windows operating system or what version of Outlook express. 

Example: Windows Vista Outlook express 7 Error 0x800c0133

Another Example:  Royal Oak Michigan hardware appliance repair parts
We are providing a city and state but are interested in locating a hardware store that provides appliance parts.

Use Quote around your search phrase. The addition of quotes in your search phase will reduce the number of false results.  Example:  “Chevy Cavalier” “Engine Code” P0440 2001 

In this example we are grouping the “Chevy Cavalier” and “Engine Code” but the specific year of the car, 2001, and the actual error code, P0440, may appear anywhere on the web pages that are searched.

If your search results look too narrow or limited forget specifics and quotes Sometime you may be proving too much information and the search results are too few or completely miss the mark.  You may want to remove the “quotes” in the phase and remove any unnecessary word.  Referencing the example above, instead of specifying the year, 2001 and the model, Chevy Cavalier and broaden the search try search for just the error code and the manufactgure. 

Example:  GM engine code P0440

Check your Spelling Correct spelling is important if you want accurate search results.  This is less important as most internet search site will either correct commonly misspelled words or provide a link with the corrected search.On rare occasion, you may want to search using the common misspelling, especially when searching a name. In the age or Blogging and twittering there is no copy editor.Example: Greg or Gregg,  John 0r Jon, Duane or Dwain 

Another example would be alternate spellings used in other countries.

Use Colour , the European spelling of “Color”

I still remember reading J. R. R. Tolkens, the Hobbit when I was 12 years old and counting what I thought was 12 misspelling of the word, Colour.

Use Abbreviations , sometimes Sometimes, when I have difficulty searching for an item or piece of information I will remove the common spelling of the word and use an abbreviation. 

Eng = Engine

Info = information

Month = instead of January 21, try Jan 21

Include FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or HELP in the search phase If you are searching for answers to a specific question you may want to include, Help or FAQ into your search phase.  Most web sites include a help or FAQ section on their site and there are countless site and forums dedicated to answering questions.  This can dramatically reduce the number of results as well as target web pages or articles specifically designed to answer common questions.

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