The internet can be a hard place to navigate properly, even more so for less tech-savvy people or old people. You might have even seen your friends or family type google.com on the Google search bar a few times. Sometimes, it can be hard to find what you’re looking for or you might display totally irrelevant results on the search engine. Here are a few tricks you can use to find exactly what you are looking for and surf the internet precisely.
Learn the terms
You need to get familiar with terms like browser, website, webpage, search engine, URL. As these terms are frequently used, understanding these terms can help you surf the internet quickly. Simply put, a browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is an application that helps you surf the internet by loading webpages . A webpage is a document on the website and the website is a collection of webpages; think of it as pages of a book and the book itself. For example Wikipedia is a website and an article on World War I or anything that falls under Wikipedia is a webpage. Likewise, a search engine is a website where you can search certain information —hence the name search engine— like Google or Bing. Finally, a URL is the web address; for example, www.facebook.com/.
Keywords are the terms you type in a search engine to generate the most accurate results. It is the reference point a search engine uses to access its vast library of information and present the best-suited ones to you on your front page. Say you are looking for a work desk for your office; instead of searching for “Buy work desk for office”, you can specify it into something more precise like “Buy computer desk for office”. To make your search results more accurate, you can add other details like your location, your expected price range or specific models.
Most search engines will categorize search results into multiple tabs like All, Images, Videos, News and Shop. These tabs show the results in the way their name implies. If you were looking for dandelion flowers, the ‘Image’ tab can show you images of dandelion flowers from multiple sources. This way you can find the what you’re looking for more easily rather than visiting each entry in the ‘All’ tab. Utilizing tabs is a great way to find what you’re looking for and cutting down precious time.
Search engines like Google offer a lot of shortcuts that can present you with neat information with just a few words. You can type “date” to see the current date, “time” to see current time, “weather” to check the weather. Other shortcuts include features like currency conversion, dictionary entries for definitions, synonyms, antonyms, basic mathematical calculation, location of a certain business with Google Maps illustration and so on. This way you can clear up unnecessary clutter or time-wasting and get the information you need almost instantaneously.
Bookmarks and browser history
Sometimes you may come across a great resource of information and may want to save that for future reference. You can save the specific webpage by bookmarking it which is usually denoted by a star icon near the search address bar. This can prevent you from having to do multiple searches to find the exact website/webpage you want.
In case, you forgot to bookmark a webpage and you’re having a hard time finding it again, refer to your browser history. Your browser history records all the past webpages you visited unless you didn’t delete them or you didn’t use incognito mode. If you remember the time or specific website name, you can easily find out the webpage you were looking for. You can also use third-party browser extensions to manage your browser history with more ease.
Advanced search operators
Advanced search operators are search modifiers you can use in your search bar to filter and narrow down the search results. Some search engines have more search operators while others have less, so keep in mind that this one depends on the search engine you’re using.
You can use hyphen to exclude results that have the keyword preceding it. For example, if you wanted to search for Asian cuisine but want to remove any Indian cuisine from showing up in the results, you can type: “Asian cuisine -Indian” to get results that have every Asian cuisine results but not Indian cuisine.
2. Double quotation marks
Double quotation marks instruct the search engine to only present you with the given keywords inside the quotation marks. This can be useful to remove unnecessary results and get specifically what you asked for. For example, if you want to look for Japanese war crimes, you can use “Japanese War Crimes” to make sure you only get results of that and other results like war crimes from other countries are not included in it.
Colons can be used to get search results exclusively from the mentioned website URL. For example, if you wanted to search for Abraham Lincoln and get results from Encyclopedia Britannica’s website only, you can use “Abraham Lincoln site:britannica.com“. This way you can remove results from other popular sources like Wikipedia and read Britannica’s own index of articles.
AND operator allows you to get results shared between two keywords. For example, you can use “Joseph Stalin AND Adolf Hitler” to get results that include them both. Whereas, OR operator presents results from both keywords. For example, “Joe (Tribbiani OR Biden) will show you results of both Joey Tribbiani, a fictional television character, and Joe Biden, running candidate for US Presidency.
Bear in mind, that not all search engines are completely secure. These tips can help you only surf the internet precisely. You still need to learn more about browsing the internet safely or protecting your privacy from search engines.