Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on September 8, 2011. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Find better results with advanced search options
Using advanced search techniques can reduce the amount of time spent “surfing the web” for the perfect resource.
In addition to word or phrase searches, most search engines, such as Yahoo, Google and Bing, have search bars that will limit searches to images, video or shopping.
Using the Shopping search bar is a good way to compare prices. Both Bing and Google list shopping as one of the top tier search bars, but the Yahoo search engine list shopping under the More button. For example, to see how much a particular item might cost, type the product name in the search bar, go to More and left-click Shopping.
For advanced searches of words or phrases, some search engines use quotation marks around keywords to restrict searches to only those words. For example, if you type in “science fair ideas +middle school,” it would only return results with those five words in the text.
The Yahoo search engine has an advanced search option listed under the More tab. Left-click the More tab and in the drop-down menu, left-click Advanced Search. In the advanced web search settings, the search parameters can be set to search only within certain domain names or only for specified words.
Another advanced search technique is to specify the domain name for searches, thus reducing the results to sites most useful for your needs. For example, to look for information on voter registration in Mississippi, type in the search bar: “site:gov +Mississippi voter registration.” This restricts the search to a .gov domain name and then uses the keyword to search within the returned websites. This works for all domain names (such as .com, .edu or .net).
Many people use the Internet as an encyclopedia to jump-start research or define a topic or idea. If the dictionary is not nearby, the easiest thing to do is to open up a search engine and type “define” plus the word or topic needing a definition, such as “define: no-till farming” and press Enter. A list of websites will appear that explain no-till farming.
Consider bookmarking useful websites for easy reference in the future. To create a bookmark, go to the website, and in the toolbar, left-click Favorites and then left-click Add to Favorites. At this point, either left-click Add to create the bookmark or create a folder to organize websites into categories.
Google offers another useful tool called Google Alert, which will notify you anytime a new website or article is posted about the chosen topic. In the Google search engine, left-click the “more” button. In the drop-down window, left-click “even more.” Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the heading Specialized Search. Under that heading, left-click Alert. Type in the keywords for the alert.
For example, to create a Google Alert for someone’s name, a sports team, a health concern or some other topic, type the searchable words in the Google Alerts field. From the options given, determine what type of information you want Google to look through, how often you want to be notified, the volume of results, and which e-mail you want the alert to be sent to and left-click Create Alert.
Google Alerts and similar functions produce advanced searches without all the time and effort.