Web Search Techniques

Web Search Techniques

Knowing how to perform complicated searches for online information is an added benefit that increases your chances of finding almost anything you want. However, most search engines allow you to define your query criteria in specific ways, not all work identically.

In this article, we’ll show you web search techniques a  and an SEO company use typically.

Table of Content:

1. Phrase Searching

2. Truncation

3. Quick Searches

4. Boolean Expressions

5. Advanced Boolean Logic

6. Delete Capability

7. Exclude Specific Websites

8. Social Media Tags

9. Conclusion

Phrase Searching

Whenever you use a search term that is more than one word, enclosing them in a quotation mark returns documents containing only the exact phrase. For instance, when you search for details on climate change, typing “climate change” excludes documents containing the words climate and change, and possibly other documents with anything to do with climate change.


When you are looking for information on gardening, for example, you could use “gardening” as your keyword. But, if the numbers of results you get are limited and you want to widen your search, you can use a root part of the term and abbreviate it with an asterisk. The search engine will provide you with links to several documents and texts containing gardens, gardens, gardeners, etc.

Quick Searches

Most search engines now allow users to easily search for particular content types by including a keyword at the start of your query. For example, if you are looking to find out the weather in China, all you have to do is simply type “weather Thailand,” and you will get a current weather forecast for Thailand. If you want a definition, you can include “dictionary” at the beginning of the word you wish to define.

There are several types of information that quick searches work for, and they do not always require keywords. Examples are:

  • When you want to get a mathematical equation, the search engine provides the answer.
  • When you are trying to figure out the number of ounces in 5 pounds, you should type “ounces in 5 pounds.”
  • When you want to know a flight status by searching for the flight number and the particular airline.

Also, entering the tracking code for any package will provide you with the package’s shipping details.

Boolean Expressions

The Boolean Expressions can be considered as the most helpful features in defining search criteria. Boolean operators give you control over search engine algorithms. They include AND, NOT or AND NOT (in some search engines), OR, and NEAR. They are expressions that allow you to create more specific search results. The following is what the Boolean operators do for you.

  • AND: when need a document that contains all of your search keywords, use the capitalized word AND between your keywords. The search engine will only discover documents that have both terms. For instance, using a criteria as pet owners AND pets would return all documents and contents that contain both phrases.
  • OR: if you choose to widen your search to get documents that contain either phrase of the keywords, you can use the OR operator between the phrases. This can come in handy when you are searching for terms that have synonyms. An excellent example is adults OR grown-ups, which would provide any document and content that carries either of the words.
  • NEAR: this is another search engine operator for a more specific search similar to the AND operator. It makes sure that documents and contents carry both phrases and that they are close to each other. In several long documents, just using the AND operator might not give you beneficial results as both keywords may be locked in separate parts of the document and may not be different from one another.

NOT or AND NOT: typing NOT or AND NOT before a search term removes documents containing the term. For example, this is necessary if you need to find information on Apple phones and do not want to get content that includes information on Apple laptops. You could quickly type “Apple phones” AND NOT “Apple laptops.”

Advanced Boolean Logic

The Boolean expressions, AND, NEAR, OR, and AND NOT are powerful in their own right, but when you use them in conjunction in brackets, they provide you significant control over the search logic carried out by the search engine. Parenthesis can be used in Boolean logic the same way they are used in any mathematical equation, ordering and limiting relations between variables.

For instance, if you want to get a Web-based Internet class, you can use the search criteria Internet AND class OR tutorial. This will provide you with two types of documents, which are documents containing both internet and lesson.

The most popular use of parenthesis is to enclose two likely keywords separated by an OR and then linking those potential keywords with other criteria using the AND operator.  However, there are instances where a reversed arrangement can be useful. Here is an example: if you are searching for information on the latest foods for dogs, you can use “dog foods” OR foods and dogs, which would give you documents with the words “dog foods” or documents containing the word food and the word dogs.

Delete Capability

Several search engines give you the ability to limit searches by the creation dates of web pages. This is extremely useful in case you are doing continuous research on a particular topic. It allows you to limit the search results to pages created since your previous search. It is also helpful when searching for the latest event topics.

Exclude Specific Websites

Some search engines give you the ability to exclude some sites from your search results. For instance, when you are writing on early home automation systems, you cannot use Wikipedia in the Google search engine type “Home automation –site:wikipedia.com,” and the search engine will eliminate any Wikipedia articles.

Social Media Tags

Several search engines allow you to search for the latest and trending topics/issues in social media by simply using the @ or # signs.


There are numerous web search techniques that could help improve your use of the internet and your general online experience. The ones mentioned in this article are only but a few.  SEO companies and  owners are all aware of the usefulness of these techniques, and it is one of the provisions they make available for their clients.

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