Getting what you need from a search on a search engine can sometimes be very frustrating. Even when you think you are entering in the right information to get relevant results, users are often left with millions of hits that will not answer their questions.
If you are in the same boat as many others who want to get the results they need without having to search though pages of information, there are a few things you can do to narrow down your results and help your search along. These tips may only help some of the time, and it is important to keep in mind that sometimes just entering a simple query is your best option. The variations that the search engine may offer can sometimes be helpful if you are not looking for something very specific.
If you put double quotations around your phrase, this tells the search engine to search for the exact words in the order that you have put them. This will yield only results exactly as you have stated them. You can also search for a specific website by putting in (site:). This is helpful if you want to only look at specific types of websites such as .gov sites, or .edu sites. It will filter out other types of URL’s.
You can also exclude certain results by putting a minus sign before a word. In order for this to be effective there needs to be a space before the minus sign. If there is not a space the search engine will treat it as a hyphen. You can exclude as many words as you want within a phrase as long as you keep putting the space and the minus sign.
The (*) sign can be used as a way to ask the search engine to provide information. When this sign is used it is treated as an unknown and the search engine will provide possible matches.