Do you get frustrated when you do internet searches and come up empty-handed? Do your online research efforts seem to suffer from a lack of authoritative sources? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you are not alone. In fact, many people have trouble getting their search engine queries to return solid, useful information. The dilemma seems to irk folks from all walks of life, from professional researchers and college students, to marketing managers and tax accountants. These days, virtually everyone uses their computer connection to conduct their social or professional life, or both.
So, why is it that effective research seems to have become more difficult with each passing year? The short answer is that the worldwide web has more than quadrupled in size during the last decade, which makes is very hard for net bots to sort valuable from worthless information. But more important than the why is another question: what are some quick and easy ways to supercharge your powers of searching for information online? Here are some ways that anyone can ramp up their satisfaction level when they enter a routine query.
Learn the Power of Quotation Marks
Simple quotation marks can solve many problems when you’re hunting for specific kinds of content. Quote marks tell the SE that you are looking only for those words in that order, and nothing else. For example, if you are researching the kinds of clothing people wore in the Middle Ages, you might simply type, middle ages clothing. The downside is that you will likely receive millions of pages that are unrelated to your research. Entering the query that way would bring up pages about fashion trends for middle-aged people, just to cite one example of how irrelevant the results might be. When you use quotation marks instead, and enter “middle ages clothing,” you’ll only see results that include those exact words in that order. Even though there will still be plenty of worthless items in the results, you’ll have a much higher percentage or usable pages to look through.
Become an Expert
Many working adults earn IT degrees from home and really dig in to the nuts and bolts of how programming, searching, and data retrieval works. It’s possible to opt of a two-year, four-year, or graduate degree in the Information Technology field. If you choose to become an expert, consider financing your education with a private student loan. You don’t need to be an IT major because education loans from private lenders can be used to cover the entire cost of any degree in any field. Plus, these kinds of loans come with higher borrowing limits than other kinds of education funding. You’ll also have access to competitive interest rates and very reasonable repayment terms.
A Minus Sign Can Eliminate Unwanted Information
The simple minus sign does almost the exact opposite of what quotation marks do. The minus symbol tells the engine that you don’t want that word to be included. For example, if you’re doing a term paper on the different types of dog breeds, you might want to eliminate all pages and sites that deal with dog food. To accomplish that, you could begin by entering, “dog breeds -food”. Or, without the quotation marks, it would look like this, dog breeds -food. You’ll no doubt see hundreds of pages about dog breeds but can rest assured that none of them will be about puppy chow.
Know What to Leave Out
There are four things you can ignore while hunting for data. They are capitalization, punctuation, the word “and,” and the word “the.” Note that you’ll have to break this rule when you’re looking for items that include “the” and “and” as part of their official names, like film and book titles. The same goes for punctuation and capitalization, but for the most part, the SEs don’t care about capital letters, commas, periods, semicolons, and colons.
Make the Plus Sign a Plus for Your Queries
If you want to make sure to include a particular term, use the plus sign to give the command. As noted in the example above, if you want data about Middle Ages clothing, but are primarily interested in armor, you could enter middle ages clothing +armor. That way, every result would contain our target word, “armor.” Simply put a plus in front of whatever word you want to always see in pages that show up.
Use the Number Range Trick to Your Advantage
Whenever you enter two consecutive numbers into a search, the algorithm reads the command as a range. For example, if you want to find out about prices of classic cars, but don’t want to spend more than $1,000, it might help to enter something like, classic cars for sale locally $500 $1000. Now you’ll only have to dig through sales ads for vehicles in the $500 to $1,000 price range. Of course, in place of the word “locally,” you should enter the city, state, province, or country for which you want data.
Site Search Will Save You Loads of Time
To view everything on a particular website, use the site search function. It’s a major time saver. For instance, if you want to see what the IRS has to say about new tax laws for inheritance, search the agency’s site by entering: site: www.irs.gov inheritance law.Follow us on Social Media