1. Play the Favorites.
If you choose two or three search sites to use most often, familiarize yourself with their advanced search rules. The more you use them, the better the result.
2. Specify what you want.
When you’re searching a product, for example, use a query that helps the search site know what you want. Try entering “Sony Mavica reviews” instead of just “Sony Mavica.”
3. Quote Me.
Putting quotation marks around a search phrase often works magic. For example, if you include quotation marks when you search for the philosopher “Aristotle,” you will avoid getting listings for cufflinks or building materials.
4. Be a task master.
You can often locate what you want by entering a task into the search field. Try typing in “update my social security” or “File my taxes,” say.
5. Brush up on Boolean.
Try Boolean command AND first, to see links with all search terms, as in Intel AND processor.
6. Make a date.
If you want links that relate to a particular time, include date or year in quotation marks. Example: “Olympics and 2008.”
7. Learn your lingo.
If you’re searching for specialized material, make a note of the specific phrases that others use in the field. For example, a fundraiser who often researched potential donors’ biographies tells us that the quickest search is often “John Smith” combined with “honorary degree.”
8. Think before you click.
Avoid wasting time on irrelevant sites and pages. Scan the search results blurb for the context in which your terms were used, the URL, the identity of the publisher, and the date (if available).
9. Keep moving.
Don’t look beyond the first page of search results. It’s better and faster to try another search using different keywords.