Every day we use the internet to search for things. Be it for a website or news article or even a new set of clothes, yet few people know of these little tips and tricks that can help speed up your search online.
This one is more of a pet peeve than anything else, but it does help speed up searches. When searching an online retailer people will often search terms like “red sleeveless hoodie“, but when it comes to something like “how do I change my screen brightness?” they will search for that exact sentence. The human language is complex, and to make matter’s worse, English is terrible (grammatically speaking). This means that computers struggle with understanding sentences or even a basic question, where key terms it understands. Simply removing a few words “change screen brightness” is enough to improve your search, and it means less typing for you
Quote marks normally indicate speech in the English language, but to computers it means something completely different. “joystick USB” would in a search engine bring up all the pages that hold those ‘key terms’, joystick and USB. But that includes pages which include both terms or even just one, if I put the joystick in quotation marks like this, ““joystick” USB”, the search engine focuses on those speech marks. Sometimes this can make a big difference, sometimes only a little one. What this means is that the search results I want back HAVE to include joystick. Go on give it a try with something you’ve been looking for, just put one word in quotes and see if it helps
Don’t be so Negative
We’ve all done it, gone looking for something online and found that no matter what we look for there is something else popping up because it’s got part of what we are searching for in its name. Most recently I’ve been looking at purchasing a joystick and have been regularly keeping an eye on several sites to see if there are any good deals available. But if you go onto online auction sites and type in “joystick USB”, you will find that among the classic joysticks will be modern-day controllers and spare joysticks for them. By simply adding a “-” alongside something you don’t want to appear in your search most search engines will remove those items for you. “joystick USB -controller ” instantly removes anything listed under controller, ranging from XBOX and PS3 to old-fashioned arcade controllers. Be warned though, if the item you’re looking for has the term in it, it will also be removed and not appear. Who said it was all easy?
Anyone else getting a flash back of maths and those Venn Diagrams? Don’t include A but it must contain B, where should it be? The reason for that is search engines use the same kind of logic when dealing with your searches, and adding AND is the section where two areas overlap. So meaning that if I searched “”joystick AND USB”” and results would contain both the USB and Joystick results (you can also achieve this with putting both terms in quote marks, but it is up to you how you do it).
So there you have it, several hints to help you speed up and improve your searches be they on Google, Ebay or any site with a search function. Hope these help!
Thank you to Entireweb for the image.