Online search tips to improve productivity21 May 2014
Do you find yourself spending hours of your work day fruitlessly scrolling through irrelevant and outdated webpages trying to find the one piece of information you need?
Inefficient research techniques can be a major time suck, especially if your job requires a good deal of online research. Fortunately, there are a few key tips you can add to your time management repertoire to help make your online research techniques quicker and effective.
Turn off auto-correct
When you’re attempting to research a subject that is unique, unusual or foreign, an online search engine will assume the terms you have used are incorrect. Because these web services are designed to return the most popular and relevant pages, they generally attempt to correct your spelling and send you to a more common query – this is problematic when you actually meant what you typed.
Fortunately, you can easily turn this feature off by heading into the site’s settings. On Google, for example, the “search tools” button gives you an “all results” menu. Within this feature, you can select the “verbatim” option, which will ensure Google only searches for the specific phrases you use.
Use the minus (-) to narrow the search
If you find that your searches are returning options you’d rather not see, you can use the minus function to remove unwanted results. For example, if you wanted to search for jaguar, the animal, but kept being shown pages for the automobile, you can search for “jaguar -car” to help remove those pesky vehicle results.
Type tilde (~) for relevant results
Sometimes we know the subject we want to search but just can’t quite put it into words. Instead of ineffectually searching pages of almost-relevant information, add a tilde (~) in front of the phrase or word that isn’t quite correct.
This function will tell the search engine that you are happy to see results that include synonyms of the word you used, opening up your search to many more possibilities.