How to find information from Internet - Part VII Simple tips for better search result

A few simple tasks can give amazingly better search result, even without using advanced features of a search engine.

Agreed, for complex search on focussed subjects, one has to use advanced features that almost every search engine provides. But then, not every search is complex - you might be looking for as simple a thing as URL of Exim Bank of India. A few tips can make your job really easy and less time consuming.

1. Select the Search Engine Carefully

Most of us are fond of one or two search engines and blindly use them no matter what the search subject is. However, a little planning can save your time considerably.

If you are searching in directory type search engine, the search result will be precise but limited in number. So, if your search topic is not well-known or broad enough - it may not be listed in Yahoo! categories. On the other hand - if you are looking for a few good sites - there is nothing like Yahoo!

If the search is for a specific product or service - check if there is any specific search engine for that topic. For example - if you are looking for software download - cnet or is a better choice than general purpose search engines.

If you need quick results from more than one search engine - use a meta search engine like

And if you really want to do nothing but search blindly, use google - it never fails to amaze me with its broad coverage and extremely fast throughput.

I have found to cover more Indian sites than any so called India-specific search engines !

2. Be Specific

Always start with very specific search expression. Never beat around the bush - tell the search engine exactly what you want.

If you are looking for garment buyers in Togo - search for garment and (buyers or importers) and togo - not just togo or garment

You can even state your problem - "can not install printer in Linux"

You will be amazed to find how often this works !

3. Forced Search

You can force search engine to look for sites having specific search words. The + symbol lets you do this

The + symbol ensures that a search engine finds pages that have all the words you enter, not just some of them. For example - if you are looking for tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh - search with

+'Tobacco growers' +'Andhra Pradesh'

The + symbol above will ensure that search engine retrieves only those pages that have both the phrases 'Andhra Pradesh' and 'Tobacco growers'

Forced search is especially helpful when you do a search and then find yourself overwhelmed with information. Use of + symbol will narrow down your search considerably.

More search tips in forthcoming issues

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 14 July 25' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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