Using a web directory or a search engine is less complicated than we make it out to be.
During the next decade, the way we search will become redundant. Google is currently working on search technology that will revolutionise the way we look for information on the web. Until then, let’s make the best of what we have.
This week, as promised, we’ll look at a few simple ways to dramatically improve the quality of your search results in 2010.
Search is case insensitive: Even though it doesn’t look that way, ‘AviNASH subramaniam’ is the same as ‘avinash subramaniam’. Don’t waste precious processing time on capitalising, not even when it comes to capitals.
Keep it short: Describe what you’re searching for using as few terms as possible. Each additional word limits the results. For example, ‘tsunami chennai’ is a more exhaustive way to find news about the tsunami than ‘tsunami reports from Chennai tamil nadu’. After all, at the end of a search of this nature, you want as many results as possible.
Phrase search: When you ‘phrase’ your search words in double quotes, you indicate that you’re looking for the exact expression in the very same order. It’s the most efficient way to return focused results. The downside is that it gives fewer results.
The magic of ‘minus’: Attaching a minus sign [or a hyphen] immediately before a word indicates that you do not want pages containing the ‘-word’ to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear before the ‘word’ and be preceded by a ‘space’. For example, the query ‘jmm -soren’ will throw up a lot of ‘jmm’ but little ‘soren’.
Order of words: The order in which you type what you’re looking for has little effect on your search results, unless your question happens to be a longish sentence. Say, you’re looking for a ‘little black dress’ to go hunting in. Typing ‘dress black little’ works just fine. Or even ‘little dress black’.
Go on, have a ball this coming year in search. I hope you find everything you’re looking for.