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Google Searching (Part 1)

Google Searching (Part 1)

The key to getting the most out of the Web is being able to effectively mine it for information.  The best search engine on the Internet is Google (  If you want to find information on anything, just type in the words you think will be included in your results.  The key is to use the best possible keywords for the search and to use as few keywords as possible.  If you are lucky or have used the correct combination of keywords, you will find what your looking for on the first Google page of results. 

Choosing Keywords
For best results, it's important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Try the obvious first. If you're looking for information on Picasso, enter "Picasso" rather than "painters".
  • Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you want. "Luxury hotel dubuque" gets better results than "really nice places to spend the night in Dubuque".
  • Make keywords as specific as possible. "Antique lead soldiers" gets more relevant results than "old metal toys".
For example, if you wanted to know the results of the lawsuit against Tommy Lee for the drowning death of a young boy attending his son's birthday party (and who wouldn't?), you would type: TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT POOL.  If you only entered TOMMY LEE, you'd turn up fan websites for Tommy Lee, Motley Crue drummer, and Tommy Lee Jones, actor and college roommate of Al Gore's.  If you entered TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT, you'd pull up numerous lawsuits filed by and against both Tommy Lee and Tommy Lee Jones.  But if you type TOMMY LEE LAWSUIT POOL, the very first result will inform you that Mr. Lee was found to not be liable for the death in his pool.  The key to a good Google search is enough terms to narrow down the search, but not too many search terms because you could exclude a relevant result.

A few more tips:
By default, Google only returns pages that include all of your search terms.
  There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results.
Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "george washington", "George Washington", and "gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN" will all return the same results.
Put quotes around words that should appear as a phrase in your results, such as names.  Using the example above, you'd want your search to read as follows: "tommy lee" lawsuit pool.  Another example, if I don't put quotes around my last name, I'd end up with results which include a large number of websites using the words de and la and o.
Google searches for exactly the words that you enter in the search box.  Searching for "book," will not yield "books" or "bookstore".  If in doubt, try both forms: "airline" and "airlines," for instance.

- " Searches
Sometimes what you're searching for has more than one meaning; "bass" can refer to fishing or music. You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign ("-") immediately in front of the term you want to avoid. (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign.)
For example, to find web pages about bass that do not contain the word "music", type:  BASS -MUSIC

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