Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting Better Search Results

"Boolean" searches can be performed using most any of the search engines, it is not another search engine. Boolean searches include using operatives like - and, or, not - in your search terms to better define what you are looking for. The major search engines do some of the "and" functions for you automatically by searching for any and all words you type in the search line.

Say you are going to visit Colorado and want to find some hot springs to soak in. If you search for hot springs colorado on Google you will get what you asked for ... plus a ton of things you didn't realize could be found from those three words! Like a lot of information about the city Colorado Springs and all the other cities and towns in Colorado that have "springs" in their names. You will probably also get info on things and places that are "hot" in Colorado, and info on "hot springs" regardless of which state or country they are in!

But if you change your search terms to 'hot springs' + colorado - 'colorado springs' which translates as "hot springs" in "Colorado" BUT NOT "Colorado Springs", the sites returned by the search will be what you are actually looking for and the best answers will be at the top of the listings (except for the 2 to 5 "paid-for" crap listings that will be listed first as "sponsored" sites).

Often you can find what you want in a search by just typing in the keywords, but the first search often returns too much stuff. Your second search would be to exclude some the extra stuff and would be best done by adding some ANDs and ORs and NOTs.

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