What Is a Boolean Search?

Many times when you are searching for something on Google or Bing, you are likely to undertake a Boolean Search without even realizing it. A Boolean Search in layman’s terms is a web search where you add a combination of keywords and so called “operators” together. The most common operators are words like OR, AND, NOT. For example, if you wanted to buy new lawn chairs or patio furniture this Spring, you might type into Google or Bing lawn chairs, which will land you all of the millions of results for lawn, chair and lawn chair. You could put quote marks around “lawn chair” or “patio furniture” to key in on those terms. (Read More)

Limit Your Searches to High Level Domains Like ‘edu’ or ‘gov’

Perhaps you are beginning a search to finally get an emergency home generator for those times when the power goes out. Rather than sorting through a bunch of smaller sites that might be trying to sell you a generator, perhaps you want to find out what the government has to say about finding and buying a home generator. What you need to do in your search is to type: site:.gov”emergency home generators” and see what comes up. With just typing in “emergency home generators,” we came up with 97 results, most local generator contractors and home depot generators, lowes generators, home depot generators and costco generators. And without using quote marks around the search — emergency home generators — we got back 11,900,000 results…now that’s a lot of generator copy to wade through.

Always Use Quotes Around Your Search Term

If you need to find a Walmart near you, type into the search bar “Walmart Near Me” rather than simply Walmart Near Me. Walmart Near Me without the quotes will bring back millions of search results rather than just a few. In a recent test, we simply typed in Walmart Near Me and it brought back 5,560,000 results. Using quotes, “Walmart Near Me,” cut the total to 151,000. Now typing in “Walmart Near Me” AND “Nashville Tennessee” brought back 20 results and three of those results were very nearby. Putting words into quotes will not simply search around and bring you back those three words exactly together and exactly in that order. What they will do is bring you back results that have these words fairly close together and in that order. This is good, simple trick to save time on all sorts of searches and on most search engines. This works magic on Google and Bing.

Always Narrow and Focus Your Results

There is simply way too much on the internet today to do a search of “business” or “sailing” or “hurricanes.” You need to do a search for “starting a business in Delaware,” or “small craft sailing on the Mississippi River,” or “strongest hurricanes to hit east coast.”

Have You Ever Done a ‘Wild Card’ Search?

If you want to get a little wild in your internet searches (not really, honest!), do a so called wildcard search. The wildcard symbols include “*,” “#,” and “?” and [chartlist]. What do they mean? The “?” or _ is any single character; the * or % is zero or more characters, the “#” is any single digit (0-9) and the [chartlist] is any single character in a chart list. With these critters, an example is worth a thousand words…literally! If you were to type in “camping,” you would get many results, but if you were to type in “camping*” you will also get results for “camping survival,” “camping state parks,” “campgrounds resources,” “camping gear” and so much more. Now, try your hand at it!

Use ‘Site Search’ to Cut to the Chase on a Website

When you use the search bar on a website, it may or may not get you to where you want to go. If you are in a hurry and want to cut to the chase in your search, type the following on Google or Bing or a search engine of your choice:
site: websearch. bestbuy.com “large screen tv”; that brought us to 163 televisions, real beauties that were going on sale for an upcoming holiday. so save yourself time by doing the following search: site: websearch.websitename.com “keyword you want to search on that site in quotes”

Find Special Web Addresses

For a 100 different reasons, you might want to find all the websites that have a certain keyword in them. Maybe you want to start a website yourself selling custom-made standing desks and you want to track down the competition and what they are offering before you take the next step. All you need to do is use to term inurl. That’s it: inurl:standingdesk. We did that search and came up with only 1,350 websites with the term “standingdesks” in the URL.

Use “+” and “-” Signs from Math to Focus Your Searches Better

Use the Boolean Operators + and – to better focus your searches. If you are traveling by automobile and it is late in the day and you need to stop for dinner, but want Italian food, instead of merely typing into your search engine box: “restaurants near me,” which in our case resulted in 958,000 search results, we typed in “restaurants near me +Italian restaurants” and came up with 1,020. Google’s results showed a map with three great Italian restaurants nearby and one just a little over five miles from us with high ratings from 35 reviewers and directions to get there…you can’t beat those little + and – signs!

Get Fancy by Doing Advanced Searches

Most search engines that you encounter will allow you to do advanced searches on their search engine. Doing advanced search on Google for example, there are boxes to type in “all these words,” “this exact word or phrase,” “any of these words,” “none of these words” and numbers ranging from … to … These results can be further narrowed using “language,” “region,” “site or domain,” “terms appearing,” “safe search,” and “last update.” We love “last update where you can choose “anytime,” “past 24 hours,” “past week,” “past month” and “past year.” We find that there is nothing more infuriating and a waste of time than to do a search and discover that the web page and information dates back to 2013. Thanks, but no thanks. We need the last information on a topic!

If Search Is Important, Don’t Rely on One Search Engine

All of the search engines operating on the internet are spinning their black or white magic, depending on your point of view, constantly so that you cannot depend on just one search result to get what you need on a topic. The top four today are Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Aol. We rely on Google and Bing.

Never Do a One Word Search, Get Better Results with More Words

Don’t just type in a keyword like cheese because you will get way too many results. Type in “cheddar cheese” or “vermont cheddar cheese.”

Be Careful of Spelling When Typing in Search Terms

In the above example, if we typed in “vermont cheddar cheeze” mispelling cheese, the search engine will likely correct the search, but not always, so be careful with spelling. Search engines are indifferent to initial caps, so you could either type in “George Washington” or “george washington.”

Be Careful with Boolean Searches

Be careful with Boolean Operators and use the one you mean to use. If you use the operator “AND” between two terms, it means that you want both. If you use the “OR” between two terms, it means you will be happy to receive either.

Search Titles Only with allintitle

If you are looking to search a term and are only interested in web pages that use your search term in the title or headline, you can easily find them by keying in the following search in the search box: allintitle: “fishing for salmon.”

Search URLs for a Keyword Using allinurl

Sometimes you want to look for your search terms on pages that really commit to talking about the topic by putting the term in the url of the page. This could be the url that is the website name or an additional page, such as www.campinginnebraska.com, which should be a website devoted to talking about camping in Nebraska. Or it could be www.uscamping.com/camping-in-nebraska. This website has a broader focus, but is devoting at least a page or more to camping in Nebraska, the object of your search.

Search for Words Only in Text

Maybe you want to search for words that only appear in the text of a webpage. In this case, type in the following: intect: “camping in nebraska” or allintext: “camping in nebraska.”

How to Search for an Image

Google’s search engine is a great help to assist you in finding images. Go to the Advanced Search page, as described above and you can search for images as well as text.

Do Quick Math Calculations on Your Search Bar

Google has a great feature on its search bar for the mathematically challenged! If you are sitting with a dinner check at a restaurant and want to determine a 17% tip on an $87 dinner tab, whip out your smart phone and go to the Google Search Bar and type in: 17% of $87. Google give you two numbers, the $14.79 tip and the $101.79 total bill. You can be really smart in front of your dinner guest! If you want to get really slick, you can plug in the variables in a complex equation and come up with the right answer.

Google Search is the Master Converter

Google can’t make you convert to another religion, but it can convert just about anything else. Want to convert 20 centimeters to inches, Google will tell you 20=7.87402. Its a huge help.

Search to Find Your Current Weather

If you need help to determine the weather where you are or where you are going, turn to Google. You can type in “weather”and it will give you the weather where your IP address is located, or you can type in “weather Los Angeles” and it will give you the weather there.

Need To Track Real-Time Stock Quotes? Go to Your Search Engine

All you need to do is type in the company’s stock market symbol and Google will get you the current stock price. For Google, for example, you would need to type in GOOG, its symbol. For Apple, you would need AAPL.

Need to Know the Sunrise and Sunset Tomorrow?

If you need to know the time of the sunrise and sunset tomorrow, you can type in “sunset” to get the time in your IP area or you can type in “sunset” and “London.”

Want to Know the Distance Between Two Points?

Maybe you are in New York City and need more than an estimate of the distance to Philadelphia in order to calculate your drive time to the other city. Type into Google new york city and philadelphia distance. It’s 307.5 miles. It will also tell you the approximate time to drive there via I-87 and I-90…the time is 5 hours and 3 minutes…give or take!

Finding Airline Flight Times

Sometimes it can be a real pain finding airline flight times. But if you know the actual flight number that you need to check, you can simply type that into Google. If you do not have the flight number, and type in the name of an airline to get into its website, you can be present with a million options and advertisements from travel companies, which is a real pain.

Remember a Lyric or a Quote from a Movie, But Nothing Else

Google is a real life saver if you are trying to think of the name of a song, but can only remember a lyric or perhaps a quote from a moving, but not the movie? Or perhaps someone at a meeting will throw out a smart-alex comment to which everyone laughs, but you. For example, a bunch of guys were at a business meeting in New Jersey recently and one of the guys says, “we have a big problem” and the boss says, is this “a sonny on the causeway” problem and everyone laughs but one ill informed meeting goer. The one person who did not know the social reference could quickly go to his smartphone and to Google. He would quickly learn that what everyone is laughing about is Sonny Coreone in The Godfather movie. Or perhaps you remember a song lyric from the 1970s…”she’s leaving now cause i just heard the slamming of the door” but you cannot remember the song itself. Type the words in Google and You will learn that it is “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” sung by Kenny Rogers.