Who doesn’t use a search engine? In fact, a search engine is statistically the first web page most people see when they go online. An average user is not a search expert and they likely use a search engine in its simplest form… just typing in a few search terms and going from there.
But, search engines can do much more than you might think!
In this blog post we have posted a handful of really cool tips that we just know you will love. Please note: In these instructions we are primarily referring to Google. However, these tips will work in other search engines as well.
Let’s get started!
Searching an Explicit Phrase:
Lets say you are looking for content about the Winnipeg Jets. Instead of just typing Winnipeg Jets into the Google search box, you will be better off searching explicitly for the phrase “Winnipeg Jets”. To do this, simply enclose the search phrase inside quotation marks.
Search phrase: "Winnipeg Jets" --> try it
Using a Wildcard within Quotes:
Lets say you are searching for a quote (or a song lyric) and you are not sure of one of the words. Replace the part you’re not sure of with the wildcard character (* – an asterisk). For example if you knew only part of a quote “Life is wasted on” from an unknown source or the lyric “Heard it from a friend” from an unknown song, you could use this search method to discover the source.
Search phrase: "Life is wasted on *" --> try it Search phrase: "Heard it from a friend *" --> try it
Lets say you want to search for info about the name Justin, but you want to exclude the results that may be included that have info about Justin Bieber. Simply use the minus (-) sign in front of a keyword you want to exclude from your search results.
Search phrase: Justin -Bieber --> try it
A Site Specific Search
Often, you want to search a specific website for relevant content. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the “site:hostname.com” modifier. For example, to search the tsn.ca website for information about the Winnipeg Jets:
Search phrase: Winnipeg Jets site:tsn.ca --> try it
A Synonym Search
Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but you also wish to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the tilde (~) character in front of the word. For example, you could search for “Winnipeg Jobs” and then also search for “Winnipeg Employment” and get two different results. However if you search for “Winnipeg ~employment” you should get all results for Winnipeg and all synonyms of employment included.
Search phrase: winnipeg ~employment --> try it
Searching for a Specific Document Type
If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier “filetype:”. For example, you might want to find only PDF files related to the Red River College:
Search phrase: Red River College filetype:pdf --> try it
Searching for This OR That
By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. Please note that the OR has to be capitalized.
Search phrase: "winnipeg jets" OR "manitoba moose" --> try it
There are dozens of tips which can be used with Google, but this is all for now! We will post more in a future blog entry.