Part 2. Tapping into the Internet’s information
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack! That explains a lot of people’s outlook when trying to find information on the Internet. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that way. In this part of “Harnessing the Power of the Web”, we explore tips and resources to help find information accurately and in a timely manner.
Mastering Web Search
Some claim to be faster, some suggest they are more relevant, others state they are easier to use. The bottom line is, search engines all help you find information on the web and it’s a personal decision as to which one you choose. Knowing how to use the search engine(s) of your choice can save you time and reduce your frustrations.
All major search engines offer advanced search functionality. If you are having difficulty finding information, try an advanced search to limit your search criteria. After submitting your search, review the search field’s contents to see how the advanced search composed your results.
Most search engines will take your criteria and add Boolean operators to make your search more precise. Using these tips can save you time and get you the search results you expect.
Quoted Phrase Search: Placing a double quote (“) before and after (“) a phrase will return results for the exact phrase. Example. “installing a kitchen sink”
Excluding Words: Use a minus sign (-) without a space and immediately before a word to exclude the word from your results. Example. jaguar –car –football -os
Wildcard: If you are not sure of a particular word or would like the search engine to fill in the blanks for you. Try using a wildcard (*) as a placeholder for that word in context to get results. Example. Honda *
OR Operator: Using the word OR (in capitals) between two search criterion will give results for pages that match either of your criteria. Example. Washington Wizards 2008 OR 2009
Site search: Narrowing your search to a specific website is easy to do using the “site:” search parameter. Type your search criteria and add site:domain.com to limit your search to a specific website. Example. construction site:epa.gov
Staying informed of competitive forces and industry news
Keeping up with our competition, industry trends, and news has never been easier since the advent of the Internet. Not only can you visit their websites, there are many freely available tools to help keep you abreast of changes.
Google Alerts: Google Alerts are emailed updates on the search criteria of your choice. Using the search tips above, you can monitor the Internet (news, blogs, websites, videos, and groups) for your criteria and get email summaries from Google as they happen, daily, or weekly. If you are interested in results on your competitors, create an alert for each competitor’s name. Alerts can be created for pending legislation that will impact your industry, industry buzz words, breaking news events, or information about your favorite sports team. Your options really are endless and easy to setup and disable. (www.google.com/alerts)
The Free Library: Great source for searching articles and industry news. (www.thefreelibrary.com)
The Wayback Machine: Want to go back in time and see how a website looked in the past? This site maintains an archive of old websites. (web.archive.org)
Google Search Engine Prototype November 11, 1998 Courtesy of The Wayback Machine
Public Directories: There are many public directories that provide useful information and can be searched for by company. Hoovers (www.hoovers.com) and Zoom Information (www.zoominfo.com) both contain free information for large and publicly traded organizations. Getting information for smaller organizations can be more difficult or cost a fee.
The next time you are exploring the web, try one of these new techniques or tools to uncover the information you need quickly. If we can be of any assistance in helping you find the information you need, please contact our technical support line at 703-961-1840 option 2.