Ten Tips for Smarter Google Searches

This article at Informit.com would be a great way for a search amateur to start building up his/her Google-Fu. It not only introduces the use of specific Google operators, but even introduces the idea of a search strategy. Here’s a taste:

Tip #1: Use the Correct Methodology

Whether you’re conducting a basic or advanced Google search, there is a certain methodology you should employ. Follow the proper method and you’ll get very targeted results; ignore this advice and you’ll either get a ton of irrelevant results or a dearth of relevant ones.

While there are many different (and equally valid) approaches to web searching, I guarantee that this particular approach will generate excellent results. It’s a six-step process that looks like this:

  1. Start by thinking about what you want to find. What words best describe the information or concept you’re looking for? What alternate words might you use instead? Are there any words that can be excluded from your search to better define your query?
  2. Construct your query. Use as many keywords as you need; the more the better. If at all possible, try to refine your search with the appropriate search operators—or, if your prefer, with the Advanced Search page.
  3. Click the Search button to perform the search.
  4. Evaluate the matches on the Search Results page. If the initial results are not to your liking, refine your query and search again—or refine your search by switching to a more appropriate search site.
  5. Select those matching pages that you wish to view and begin clicking through to those pages.
  6. Save the information that best meets your needs.
  7. In other words, it pays to think before you search—and to continue to refine your search after you obtain the initial results. The extra effort is slight, and well worth it.

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