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4 Tips for Searching Better, Faster Online

» Introduction
If you're like me, you spend a lot of your time online searching for things. Here are several ways to increase your searching efficiency online and use your time better.
» Step 1
If you're like me, you spend a lot of your time online searching for things.

The Internet used to be more about searching than finding. That's why people called time spent online "surfing". It was fun but that implied a repetitive activity that didn't necessarily have a destination as a goal.

Happily, the web has greatly increased its signal to noise ratio in recent years. So don’t limit your search techniques to what you learned five or ten years ago – search engines have gotten better and the web has more real information available than ever before.

These days I often find myself able to locate information or products in just a few clicks. In case you haven't updated your own search techniques recently, here's how I do it.

4 Tips for Faster Searching Online Today:
» Step 2
1. Think (and type) like a "Real Person": The key to finding good search results is to think like a real person. Don’t try to psych out the computers – they just display the info entered by other users like you. Just use common language and try variations of the terms you are after to find the most common phrasings. So if “ventricular fibrillation” doesn’t yield your desired info, try “cardiac arrest” or simply “heart attack”. Unless you’re deliberately looking for something technical, your search query should reflect the way most people speak and write. That’s the way you’ll most quickly find what you’re after.

» Step 3
2. Natural Language Queries: Simply try typing in your whole question as if you were speaking it (search engineers call this a “natural language” search). Google or Yahoo will automatically ignore the articles like “the” and “a” to focus instead on the key nouns, verbs, and adjectives. (If you really want to be quick, just type the key nouns and adjectives of the sentence you would have spoken.)

» Step 4
3. Quote Key Phrases: If your query includes a key phrase like “how to”, search engines will naturally ignore the "to" because its so common and non-descriptive. So put that part of the query in quotes to force the search engine to look for it as a package. Putting the whole sentence in quotes can force a search on exactly that phrasing including all the words in the sentence, too. This can be especially useful if you’re looking for a phrase other searchers are likely using exactly the same, too, like “how do I replace my ipod battery?”.

» Step 5
4. Add a Minus Sign: When you’re looking for a needle in the haystack of search results, adding a minus sign will help by removing common search results that are not applicable. For example, a Google search on “Rockefeller” yields 9,010,000 results. But adding “-John” eliminates all references to John Rockefeller and narrows the results down by a factor of 10 to 932,000. Adding a few more "minus" terms can help you hone in on your target subject much more rapidly.
» Step 6
Using these tips will help you use your time on Google, Yahoo, or other search engines more efficiently. For more useful online business tips, visit ScottFox.com or my blog at ScottFoxBlog.com.

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