Productive Web-Searching Tips You May Not Know

surftheweb_4676d49e398f9Searching the web is an everyday practice for most of us business owners these days. From finding the newest business solutions and technology tools to searching for phone numbers and even a good takeout lunch menu, the useful items you can search for on the web are infinite. Of course, your time at work is also precious, so it's good to be in the know about some of the creative ways to search the web more quickly and productively.


Many of you probably know the basic guidelines for using search engines, but here they are in case you missed the memo:


If You Want to:


Search an exact phrase

Put quotes around an exact search phrase (i.e., "Cybertary Franchise"); in general, it's wise to avoid single word searches unless your term is very rare.

Broaden or narrow your search

Use the + and - symbols:

+ symbol: A + symbol between terms will help broaden your search (i.e., virtual + assistant)

- symbol: A - symbol between terms will help narrow your search (i.e., virtual + assistant - international)

Vary your search results

Use capital letter "AND," "OR," "NOT," or "NEAR" between search terms:

AND: If you type in "virtual AND assistant," result pages with both terms will be found

OR: If you type in "virtual OR assistant," result pages with the word "virtual," the word "assistant" or both words will be found

NOT: If you type in "virtual NOT assistant," result pages with the word "virtual" but without the word "assistant" will be found

NEAR: If you type in "virtual NEAR assistant," result pages with the word "virtual" in close proximity to the word "assistant" will be returned

Find more  information on a site you're already on

Use the delete button to back up the URL to find more information. For instance, say a search leads you to this newsletter article at this URL:/june-2007-innovate-newsletter/pay-per-click-advertising. Upon reading that article, let's say you wonder if there are more articles like it from this particular source. In your browser window, you can delete back to the main URL, in this case, to find more information. Some URLs will even include several subcategories within them, and you can delete back to the level that best matches your search needs.


GoogleTM Shortcuts

Google is the most widely used search engine out there right now. For this reason, they've created a lot of shortcuts for use specifically on Google. Here are a few of the more useful ones:


When You Want to:

Type the following into Google:

Find a website similar to one you like

similar to: URL of the site you like here

Find out what sites link to a site you like

linked to: URL of the site you like here

Get a definition

define: enter the word you need defined here

Do math

+, -, *, and / respectively to add, subtract, multiply and divide

Search a specific website

site:URL "search phrase" (i.e., "become a Cybertary"); NOTE: Do not use a space after the colon on this shortcut.

Search without getting any adult content

safesearch: "search phrase" (i.e., safesearch: "breast cancer"


For more Google tips, visit this online Cheat Sheet. Also, read how to stay alert with Google.


Beyond Google

Even though it's tempting, don't get locked into a monogamous love affair with Google. There are several other great search engines out there including Yahoo!®Search, Windows LiveTM Search and Ask.comTM. Since every search engine is set up with different algorithms (here's your chance to use the Google "define" tip above), you'll no doubt tap into a few unique finds in each search engine. Every search engine will also have their own list of search tips, so print out your favorites for easy reference until you have them memorized. Even better, consider using search engines like Dogpile® that search all the top search engines at once.


There are also more specialized sites you may want to use when searching for more focused information on the web. For instance, if you want to search a wide array of topics, use a directory site like About®.com, which is organized by subject matter. If you need something business related, try using You might search FlickrTM for photos, YouTube for video clips or TechnoratiTMfor something on the blogosphere. If you're looking kid-friendly searches, try AskforKidsTM or Yahoo!®Kids.


While searching the web is easy for most users, these kinds of tips can make your searches faster and more effective too. Find your sought-after information in record time. Save your time for better things-like all that work that needs to be done and all that life that needs to be lived.


This article is a product of Cybertary, Inc. Please review our policy for reprinting this article on your own site.

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