How to find information from Internet - Part VIII More Tips for Better Search Result

This week, we discuss more tips that can get you amazingly better search result.

Remove Unwanted pages using - symbol

We discussed forced search using + symbol last week. The + symbol preceding a search word forces search engine to look for only those pages that have that search word. (e.g. +garments +buyer)

You can use the - symbol to do the exact opposite - filter out unwanted pages. A - symbol preceding a search word forces the search engine TO REMOVE all pages having that particular search word.

For example, if you are looking for buyers but not agents, the search expression may be as follows:

+buyer -agent

The - symbol is very helpful in weeding out unwanted pages from search result and focus on interest area only.

Some more examples of - symbol

SAARC -India (all countries in South Asia except India)

windows +98 -3.1 (looking for pages on Windows 98 only)

garments -fabrics (focussing on garments only)

Join Multiple Words using Quotation Marks

Well, after learning how to add and subtract terms, the next logical step should be multiplication !

As in mathematics, multiplying terms through a "phrase search" can be a much better way to get the answers you are looking for.

When you are looking for a concept made up of more than one word or a phrase - searching for the phrase provides much more focussed result than sum total of individual words.

For example, if you are looking for Buying Agents, you may search by any of the following ways:

1. +buying +agent

2. +'buying agent'

The search result will be vastly different for phrase search. We actually searched two top Search engines and see the difference in result below:

Search Expression: +buying +agent

AltaVista : 4,076,558 pages
Google : 8,06,000 pages

Search Expression: 'buying agent'

(exact phrase in advanced search)

AltaVista : 4613 pages
Google : 18000 pages

So if you know exactly what you want - use phrase search. There is no better alternative.

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 15 August 1' 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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