Improve your search results with these power hacks
These days, pretty much every internet journey starts with a search. Unless you already know the specific web address you want to visit, your first port of call will almost always be a search engine – in the vast majority of cases, Google.
Search engines organize the internet making it easier and quicker for us to find the information we need. However, impressive as they are, there are still ways you can refine your searches to get the best results. Try these tips next time you’re searching to get more accurate listings.
Help the search engine by being as specific as possible
Most times you likely already have a pretty clear idea what you’re looking for, so give the search engine as much information as possible, to help it narrow down the results it serves. For example, if you’re looking for buyers’ tips or reviews on the latest 360 cameras, try something like, “best 360 video camera 2020” rather than just “360 cameras”.
Use product- or industry-specific search engines
These days, Google has come to dominate the search engine industry with an estimated 70.38% of all global desktop searches performed on its platform. However, while Google is undoubtedly fantastic at generic-type searches, there are times when it simply can’t compete with industry-specific search engines.
For example, if you’re looking for flights, you’ll get much quicker and more comprehensive results using a site like Skyscanner than you’ll ever find with Google. The same applies to Asos for clothes, Airbnb for accommodation or Octopart for electrical parts.
Specific search engines are growing in popularity. E-commerce giant Amazon is now ranked the fourth most popular search engine in the world and is the starting point for over half of all online product searches. Of course, in some more obscure cases, you may need first to find these sites, so try Googling “*industry name here* search engines” to find the best links.
If you know an exact phrase, put it in quotation marks
If you can remember a specific piece of text you’ve heard or read, putting it in quotation marks in your search will limit your results to only pages with those exact words, in the same precise order.
For example, if you remembered part of the quotation, “Better to have loved and lost,” and wanted to find out more about, try typing the words surrounded by quotation marks. Google will then serve you results with pages featuring those exact words taken from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famed poem, In Memoriam A.H.H.
Avoid common words or punctuation
More often than not, search engines completely ignore link words like ‘the’ and ‘a’ and also disregard punctuation marks in searches. However, there are some important exceptions to the rule – particularly with ‘the’.
If ‘the’ is part of a title, then you should include it for accuracy, e.g. searching ‘reason’ compared to ‘The Reason’ (a famous song by American band Hoobastank) will give completely different results.
It’s possible also to add operators to your searches to get even more targeted results and limit what Google returns. As intelligent as search engines are, the more information you give them from the outset, the better they’ll perform.