Beware of using slang or partial words. If you use slang or parts of words, you may have some luck, but your results may be too broad. For example, flick instead of movie, or Macs instead of Macintoshes may yield different results.
Correct Spelling, Pluralization and Capitalization. Be aware of pluralizing your words, and spell them correctly. For example, good will, goodwill, Goodwill, Goodwills, and Good Will may yield different results.
AND. Use AND (all caps) to search for multiple words that must appear in a web page. Some search engines support a plus sign (+) in place of AND. For example, free AND coupon, or free + coupon.
NOT. Use NOT (all caps) to exclude certain words or phrases. For example, casserole NOT chicken NOT beef.
OR. Use OR (all caps) to include any of the search words (rather than most.) For example, George Washington OR Bush.
Wildcards. The percentage symbol (%) can be used to replace only one character. The asterisk (*) can be used to replace multiple characters. For example, post* could produce postwar, postgame, or postmarital.
Phrases. Put quotes around a phrase so each word in the phrase isn't searched for separately. For example, if you put quotes around "free online computer training," the search engine searches for that entire phrase in a web page. However, if you simply type, free online computer training, the search engine searches for each of the words individually in a web page.
Get Help. Go to your search engine's Help page for more specific information on a particular engine.
Try Something New. There are many different search engines on the Web. If you can't find what you are looking for using your favorite engine, go somewhere else.
Bookmark it. Add your favorite search engines to your Favorites to increase ease of use. If you're not sure how to do this, you'll learn how later in this unit.