I\’ve been asked from time to time about how I find certain information on the web – information that others struggle to discover. So I\’ve decided to share some tips on how to be a better searcher and actually find what you are looking for. This isn\’t too difficult; usually if what you seek is on the Ã¢â‚¬ËœNet, you\’ll likely find it. When I don\’t find something, I think it\’s just not there.
Here are my top five tips on successfully finding info on the Ã¢â‚¬ËœNet:
Use Search Operators to Narrow or Widen Your Search
Let me guess: When you search for an email marketing solution, you just type in \”email marketing solution\” (with or without the parentheses) and hit the \”search\” button. This a very generic search string so you\’d find lots of sites offering email marketing solutions.
But what if it\’s still not what you were looking for? Then your search is too broad. You can narrow it by adding more keywords. Put the phrases \”affordable email marketing solution\” or \”email marketing solution for restaurants\” in quotes, so you see the exact match of this phrase in the search engine results page (SERP). Or, use \”affordable email marketing solution\” or \”email marketing solution for restaurants\” with different keywords or phrases (search strings) separated by commas, such as: affordable email marketing solution, for restaurants, in florida, testimonials, rates
This little technique alone will bring you better results. But there are also tons of search operators you can use to narrow your search. Several examples:
site: This operator restricts results to sites within the specified domain. For example, site:mobilestorm.com email marketing solution will find all pages containing the keywords \”email\” \”marketing\” \”solution\” located within the mobilestorm.com domain.
intitle: This restricts results to documents whose titles contain the specified phrase. For example, intitle: email marketing solution will find all sites with the words \”email\” \”marketing\” \”solution\” in the title of the page.
allintitle: Restricts results to documents whose titles contain the entire specified phrase. So allintitle: \”email marketing solution\” will find all sites with the phrase \”email marketing solution\” in the title.
inurl: This search operator restricts results to sites whose URL contains the specified phrase. Thus inurl:mobile email marketing solution will find all sites containing the words \”email\” \”marketing\” \”solution\” in the text and the word \”mobile\” in the URL.
link: Restricts results to sites containing links to the specified location. For example, link:mobilestorm.com will return documents containing one or more links to www.mobilestorm.com
inanchor: Restricts results to sites containing links with the specified phrase in their descriptions. For instance, inanchor:email marketing solution will return documents with links whose descriptions (that’s the actual link text, not the URL indicated by the link) contain the words \”email\” \”marketing\” \”solution.\”
allintext: This search operator restricts results to documents containing the specified phrase in the text, but not in the title, link descriptions, or URLs. So allintext:\”email marketing solution\” will return documents which contain the phrase \”email marketing solution\” in the text only.
For more search operators just look for them by using the phrase \”search operators.\” Better yet, use allintitle:\”search operators\”
Use Search Waves and Get Hints
Don\’t expect to get a search right on your first try. And don\’t think your first try was just a waste of time. Instead, look at the results and try to find a hint on how you might better construct your search string. Consider this as your first \”search wave,\” which will help your next search(es) finally find what you are looking for. Search waves are the key to success in many cases.
Use Logic and Intuition
Analyze and think, more than simply search. Look at what you are discovering and based on that adjust your search process. Maybe you are looking at the wrong places. Maybe you didn\’t even know what you were looking for until you suddenly saw some better results. If logic is your search car, intuition can be a rocket. It is hard to know if intuition tells you the truth, but when you try to listen to it, intuition might show you a shorter way. By the way, I often find stuff intuitively, when logic tells me the opposite but I just need to \”look here\” as well. Intuition is a subsequence of the experience, so exercise your search muscles: Help family, friends, and colleagues by trying to find rare books, lost people, original services, or other things that are hard to find.
Search Everywhere and Be Persistent
Don\’t just \”Google it.\” \”Yahoo it\”, \”Ask it,\” and do some \”Live.\” Use other search engines if Google can\’t find it for you; they all bring different results because they have different algorithms, which might help you find something that\’s not obvious.
Search not just using search engines, but sites. Many bigger sites have a search function. If, within a set of search engine results, you found a forum or a blog, then search inside it – some pages might be not indexed by the search engine and thus hidden from view. Forums especially might be very useful in this, and give you lots of extras on your search subject.
Enjoy the Search Process
When you enjoy something, you achieve results, and vice versa: You will achieve results when you enjoy the process.
Hope this post will help you become a better searcher and make you be able to find that something precious easily and quickly. Good luck with your next search!
Director, Online Marketing
Every problem comes with a solution