About to do a training for some of my team on how to master internet research. Here are some of the excellent tips on how to optimize Google searches that I will be sharing:
1. Use unique, specific terms – It is simply amazing how many Web pages are returned when performing a search. You might guess that the terms blue dolphin are relatively specialized. A Google search of those terms returned 2,440,000 results! To reduce the number of pages returned, use unique terms that are specific to the subject you are researching.
2. Use browser history – Many times, I will be researching an item and scanning through dozens of pages when I suddenly remember something I had originally dismissed as being irrelevant. If you can remember the general date and time of the search you can look through the browser history to find the Web page.
3. Don’t use common words and punctuation – Common terms like a and the are called stop words and are usually ignored. There are cases when common words like the are significant. For instance, Raven and The Raven return entirely different results.
4. Set a time limit — then change tactics
Sometimes, you never can find what you are looking for. Start an internal clock, and when a certain amount of time has elapsed without results, stop beating your head against the wall. It’s time to try something else:
> Use a different search engine, like Yahoo! Bing, Startpage, or Lycos.
> Ask a peer.
> Call support.
> Ask a question in the appropriate forum.
> Use search experts who can find the answer for you.
The Internet is the great equalizer for those who know how to use it efficiently. Anyone can now easily find facts using a search engine — assuming they know a few basic tricks.
Never underestimate the power of a skilled search expert.