Improving your searches
As you gain experience with search engines, you'll be able to conduct better and better searches, which means it will become quicker and easier to find what you are looking for. Here are a few tips for improving your searches:
- Take suggestions. As you're typing your search terms, the search engine will try to guess what you're searching for, and it will show a list of search suggestions (which are similar to related searches, except they happen while you're typing). These can give you ideas for search terms that you may not have thought of.
- Search phrases. Put quotes around a phrase so each word in the phrase isn't searched for separately. For example, if you put quotes around "sugar cookies", the search engine searches for that entire phrase in a webpage. However, if you simply type sugar cookies, the search engine searches for each of the words individually, and it will find recipes for other types of cookies that have sugar in the ingredients.
- Exclude words. Use a hyphen (-) at the beginning of a word to exclude search results containing it. For example, macaroni -cheese. Note that there is a space before the hyphen, but not after it. In many search engines the word NOT (in all caps) is used, as in macaroni NOT cheese.
- Use OR. You can use OR (all caps) to include either of two search words. For example, soup recipe tofu OR fish should return recipes for soup that contain tofu or fish (or both). You could also search for soup recipe tofu OR fish OR chicken OR beef.
- Get help. Go to your search engine's Help page for more tips.
For more search tips, check out our Search Better tutorial.