Most online business owners are
conducting fairly regular web searches. Typically the kind of
information that they’re seeking include local and national
competitors, keyword research, and searches for resources for a
particular topic. I recently tried to find a simple tutorial to
help my clients conduct better Internet searches.
Unfortunately, many of the tutorials that I found were created
by academic libraries and provided too much detail and too many
options for the simpler kinds of searches that most of us do.
Below are some simple tips to make your online search more
effective. Since I do the majority of my searches on Google,
some of these tips are Google-specific:
1. Carefully select your search terms. Instead of using
broad or general terms that will return thousands of possible
sites, try to use terms that are very specific to your topic.
One way to narrow your terms is to review relevant sites you’ve
already discovered and identify search terms from those sites.
2. Use quotation marks. If you’re seeking a specific
phrase, like "Internet marketing coach", enclose the term in
quotation marks. Called a forced phrase search, this tells the
search engine to return only entries that contain these words in
this order. Sometimes searches without the quotes return
similar entries, but you could also get an unrelated entry like,
"…Internet that makes it easier on marketing for
the athletic coach.."
3. Use Boolean operators. Boolean operators are words
that allow you to combine search terms in most search engines.
The most commonly used ones are:
AND – AND tells the search engine to find both terms on
the same site. For instance, entering "business AND ethics"
would instruct the search engine to find web pages that contain
both terms, "business" and "ethics." You can also use the ‘"+"
sign for this, as in "business" + "ethics"
OR – OR tells the search engine to find one term or the
other. Entering "business OR ethics" would cause the search
engine to look for web pages that contain either the word
"business" or the word "ethics," but not necessarily both
words. If you use this combination, be prepared for the search
engine to return thousands of sites.
NOT – NOT tells the search engine to find pages that
contain the first word but not the second. This instruction is
helpful when you know your search term is likely to appear with
another term that does not interest you, like "golf NOT cart".
You can also use the "-" sign for this, as in "golf -cart".
4. Site search. This helps you search for a phrase on a
particular site. The command for this is site:URL "keyphrase".
So, if you wanted to search the Houston Chronicle for mentions
of Anna Nicole Smith, you would enter the following:
site:chron.com "Anna Nicole Smith".
5. Search within a URL. Many times as you’re thinking
about buying a domain name, you want to find who may be using a
particular term as a part of their domain name. Use the inURL
code for this. For example, if you wanted to find all the URLs
that contained the word "career" in Google, you would enter the
6. Use a metasearch engine. Instead of trying to
search various search engines separately, use a meta search
engine. My favorite is
Dogpile.com, which searches Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.
7. Give yourself a time limit. I’ve started searches
and have had hours disappear in what seems to be minutes. Set up
a timer to notify you 15 minutes into your search. You can then
determine if you are wasting your time on a particular search
strategy, spending too much time or a site, or assess if you
need to refocus the search.
Web research doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. You can
find exactly the information you seek by using a few simple
shortcuts to get the best results.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.