During a recent meeting at a client's office, discussion
moved to how Yahoo is creating more refined search capabilities. One of the
marketing members commented about how great this was going to be because
now maybe he'll be able to find information on the Internet more quickly.
His specific comment related to the fact that finding a phone number or business
location in the area was extremely difficult, due to the large number of hits that
he had to fish through.
So, I let them in on what apparently is a bit of a secret.
One of the reasons why Google.com is the best search engine is not
only because it's the fastest, but also because it include full-text site
searches, not just title/url searches as does Yahoo and all other search
Below are some tips for refining your web searches, as
well as tricks you can use to speed research results.
You can easily find listings for businesses or individuals
by checking phonebook listings through Google. The three main listings are
general phone listings: phonebook, specific business phone listings in bphonebook
or residential listings only with rphonebook. You can narrow the search right
now to a specific city. You can even run a reverse search by entering a phone
rphonebook:m smith il = would
result in all the residential "m smith" listings in Illinois
rphonebook:m smith chicago
= would result
in all the"m smith" listings
only in Chicago
bphonebook: gas gurnee = all
gas listings in Gurnee.
(###) ###-#### = will
give you a reverse search on a phone number, along with a driving map
phonebook: pizza niles il = will
results in all the pizza joints in Niles, including
I would also strongly suggest you enter
YOUR phone number in Google to see if you end up with
a map to your home! If you don't want this type of information
easily located on the Internet, there is a link at the
bottom of the page where you can opt out to have your
phone number removed!
- Grouping Terms
When you run a search, you need to group
terms that you want kept together by using quotes. If you don't group
specific terms you want searched together as one term with quotes, Google
will treat the words as separate terms.
Chicago Bears = results
in all sites with "chicago" and "bears"
Bears" = results in
all sites with "chicago
- Defaults = AND
The default concatenation for keywords in Google is AND. This means that
if you type in multiple keywords, the default search will include
pages that have ALL the words located within the found site pages.
Honda "Des Plaines " = means
all terms must be included in results because
they are connected with AND
- OR Searches
If you wanted to search for THIS or THAT, you can add the boolean search
for OR, meaning you will locate pages with this keyword OR that keyword
included. Both words need not be found together on a page to qualify. To
use this type of search, you must add the word OR into the search.
OR "Des Plaines" = sites found
should include EITHER term, so you will get all Honda
sites and all sites that list "Des Plaines."
- Separating AND with OR in
the Same Search
If you need to run a search and have several words
that you want grouped in various AND OR boolean searches, you can group them
together using parentheses.
cars (Honda OR
Chrysler) = results
in site for cars AND they will include EITHER Honda OR
- WITHOUT a Particular Keyword
If you want to search for keywords, but make sure that a particular word
is NOT included within the site search, you can use the minus sign.
cars "Des Plaines " -Honda =
would result in hits for cars AND Des Plaines, but none
that include Honda.
- Search in the TITLE
All web pages have a title. This is NOT the URL, but is whatever title
the page has been given by the developer. You can search within titles
using the following syntax:
intitle:"search term"...example: intitle:"solutions" would
result in all web pages using the SOLUTIONS in the title, such
as MouseTrax Computing Solutions.
- Search in the URL
If you wanted to find web pages that has a certain word included, you
can search within the URL itself. Since many developers do use common
terms to name pages, this would be helpful if you were searching
for web sites for Help or Records.
inurl:records = would results in
hits for web pages that contain some type of records
such as marriage records, etc. Another useful term
is HELP or HOWTO.
- Search in the page TEXT
Curious to see who is talking about you? You can find every page that
mentions a particular term by using the following syntax:
intext:"dian chapman" =
would find every page that has my name mentioned in
- Search in a web page ANCHOR
Web pages include anchors, such as links to other sites or name tag links.
To find all pages that mention a particular keyword or term in an anchor,
you can use this syntax:
equals all pages with consulting as an anchor link
- Search a particular WEB
Now this one is really useful for me! Face it, with bazillions of web
pages out there, it can be difficult to find reputable pages. If you
want to ensure that hits are ONLY from a particular web site domain, you
can search that site only by including the site listing in the search. For
example, if you wanted to search for specific technical support information,
but only wanted hits from Microsoft, you can search like this:
"word" OR "excel" site:microsoft.com = this would result with all pages related to Word or Excel,
but only those found throughout the Microsoft domain
In fact, the other day, someone emailed me saying they remember that I wrote
an article on calendar creation, but couldn't find it on MouseTrax. This
search would have found all the calendar info within MouseTrax.com.
- Educational or Government
You can also limit your search to only particular types of sites, such
as educational or government domains. To do this, just use the ending
part of the URL, such as "gov" or "edu," like this:
"my search term" site:edu = limits results only to site with .edu in their URL
- Who LINKS to me?
Ever wonder what other web sites have links to yours? You can find out
with this search:
link:www.mousetrax.com = would show
all sites that link to MouseTrax
- Locating Only Specific FILE
You might want to find files such as PowerPoint presentation, documents
or PDF files. You can search out specific
file types like this:
"management" filetype:ppt = would result only in Power Point presentations related
form 1040 filetype:pdf =
would get you a PDF version of the 1040 tax form
- Related Sites
Let's say you've found a terrific site that has just the type of information
you want. But you'd now like to find similar sites. You can do so like
the results would list all sites that have a similar
category type as the one you listed, in
this case, similar new sites. (And yes, this search
is so popular that Google has an easy link for this
next to each search result. Great for locating your competition!)
- You can create advanced searches by either using the ADVANCED
link on Google.com to construct your search using their interface or
you can build your own advanced search by using various combinations
of the criteria listed above. Need to find birth records in Wisconsin, try
intitle:records site:wi.us = all sites listing BIRTH
and having records in the URLs, but only for domains listed
as US Wisconsin
intitle:biology inurl:help site:edu = any page with biology in the page
title, help in the URL and listed on an educational domain
Google also has several features that most folks don't
know about. Here are just some of the cool ones I often use:
define "world wide web" =
results in site that provide a definition of the web
2 + 2 = will show that 2 + 2 =
4, you can even enter and get results for complex mathematical computations/equations
half a cup in teaspoons = provides the equivalent
of teaspoons in a half cup
Don't waste time first navigating to a maps site, entering
in the address and waiting. Just enter the address directly into
Google.com and you'll get a map.
123 Main Street
, Chicago, IL =
would result with a map to this location (if it even
- Flights and Airport
Need details on a flight or airport, just enter it into Google.com.
SEA airport = details on SeaTac airport
united 191 = details on this flight
Want to check up on your favorite stock?
stock:msft = details on Microsoft stock
- Email Alerts
Another feature I find particularly useful is the email alerts when specific
items are mentioned in the news or found on web sites. I have several
alerts running. For example, I like to know when any Microsoft MVPs are
mentioned on the web. So I have both a news and a web alert set for "microsoft" "mvp." Whenever
new info is found, I get an email about it and a link to that information.
Web alerts: http://www.google.com/webalerts
News alerts: http://www.google.com/newsalerts
- Top Searches
And finally, here's one that I find particularly
fun when I'm feeling curious about what the people in the world are thinking
about. Go here and you can see what the recent top searches have been.
Want more? If you enter this term into Google.com: help site:google.com,
you'll find all the pages related to getting more help; specifically, you'll
find Google's Help Central, which lists all the above info, and MORE!
(Psst...wanna have some fun and really freak someone out? If someone
asks you to do some web research for them, do it backwards! HA...then
send them the resulting URL...in mirror version, literally. Up for the challenge...check