The below tips work for most major search engines.
The more specific your search is, the more likely you will
find what you want. Don't be afraid to tell a search engine exactly what you are
example, if you want information about Windows 8 bugs,
search for "Windows 8 bugs," not
just "Windows." Or even better,
search for exactly what the problem is, for example. "I can't install a USB device in
Windows 8." You'll be surprised at how often this works.
Using The + Symbol
Sometimes, you want to make sure that a search engine finds
pages that have all the words you enter, not just some of them. The + symbol
lets you do this.
For example, imagine you want to find pages that have references to both lions and tigers on the same page. You
could search this way: +lions +tigers.
Only pages that contain both words would appear in your results.
some other examples: +windows +7 +bugs
would find pages that have all three of the words on them. Helpful if
you wanted to narrow down a search to Windows 7 bugs, rather than on Windows
7 in general. +star +trek +insurrection would get you pages about Star Trek that also
specifically mention "Insurrection," the title of a Star Trek film.
The + symbol is especially helpful when you do a search and
then find yourself overwhelmed with information. Imagine that you wanted to
reserve a camping space in California's Yosemite National Park. You might start
out simply searching with the word Yosemite. If so, chances are, you'll probably get too many off-target
results. Instead, try searching for all the words you want to appear, for example, +Yosemite +camping +reservations.
Using The -
Sometimes, you want a search engine to find pages that have
one word on them but not another word. The - symbol lets you do this.
For example, imagine you want information about
lions but don't want to be overwhelmed by pages relating to tigers. You should search this way: lions -tigers.
That tells the search engine to find pages that mention "lions"
and then to remove any of them that also mention "tigers."
Similarly, perhaps you are looking for information specifically about Windows
8 but keep getting pages about Windows
7 or Windows XP. You could eliminate them with a search like this: windows -7 -XP
Perhaps you are a fan of the original Star Trek series but
instead keep finding pages about Voyager, Deep Space Nine or Star Trek: The Next
Generation. Try a search like this: star trek -voyager -deep -space -nine -next
In general, the - symbol is helpful for focusing results when
you get too many that are unrelated to your topic. Simply begin subtracting
terms you know are not of interest, and you should get better results.
Marks To Multiply
Now that you know how to add and subtract terms, we can move
on to multiplication. As in normal math, multiplying terms through a
"phrase search" can be a much better way to get the answers you are
For example, remember above when we wanted pages about
reserving a campsite in Yosemite? We entered all the terms like this: +Yosemite +camping +reservations
That brings back pages that have all those words on them, but
there's no guarantee that the words may necessarily be near each other. You
could get a page that mentions Yosemite in the opening paragraph but then later
talks about getting camping reservations in the Grand Canyon. All the words you
added together would appear on this page, but it still might not be what you are looking for.
Doing a phrase search avoids this problem. This is
tell a search engine to give you pages where the terms appear in exactly the
order you specify. You do this by putting quotation marks around the phrase,
like this: "Yosemite camping reservations"
Now, only pages that have all the words and in the exact order
shown above will be listed. The answers should be much more on target than with
Likewise, remember this addition example? +windows +XP +bugs. As you can imagine, multiplying the terms together within a
phrase search would work better, because that exact phrase probably appears on
good pages dealing with Windows 98 bugs. So try this: "windows 98 bugs".
Remember the search for information about the latest Star Trek movie? We
could transform that into a phrase search like this: " Star Trek
Insurrection". But the movie's title actually has a colon after the word
"trek," and many pages might also follow this format. Thus, a better
phrase search might be: "Star Trek:
Once you've mastered adding, subtracting and multiplying, you
can combine symbols to easily create targeted searches. For example, remember the person who wanted pages only about
Star Trek's original series?
We searched this way: star trek -voyager -deep -space -nine -next
-generation. A better search might use subtraction and multiplication: "star trek" -voyager -"deep
space nine" -"next generation"