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Search Tips

All Searches - Search Tips and Tricks

Internet Searching Tips and Tricks

You can find the information you are seeking online quickly and easily. All it takes is a bit of knowledge about the searches available and how to use them effectively.

Search Engines vs. Directories

Search Engines essentially index all files they can get their hands on, good, bad, or indifferent. Directories are edited by humans and contain only limited information about sites that have been brought to their attention - such as a title and a short description of a site.

Focus on the topic of your searchIf then you are searching on a broad base, such as trying to locate stores that sell auto accessories online, your best bet is a directory. You'll be presented with a nice list of sites that fit within a specific category, and you can make your choices from there.

If however you are searching for a site that will sell you floor mats for your Jeep, you had better start with a search engine. Due to a directories limited structure, the detailed specifics of what a site has to offer can not be found. A search engine on the other hand will provide you with an endless supply of sites offering you Jeep Floor Mats, and present them to you by using a number of factors such as the sites popularity, and its relevance to your search term.

In summary then, use directories for broad searches, and search engines for specific searches.

Search Terms

Be specific about what you want when entering your search terms. Whilst this will only have a minor effect on results from a directory, it has a big impact on search engine results.

What I do when constructing my search term or phrase, is consider what would be on the page I am looking for. I then use those words in my search term.

For example, if I was looking to buy floor mats for a Jeep Cherokee, from a store located in New York, I would expect that the page I am seeking has the terms "Jeep Cherokee", "New York" or "NY", and "Floor Mats". This then would become my search term "Jeep Cherokee Floor Mats New York", or "Jeep Cherokee Floor Mats NY".

Think ahead with your search terms and you'll not be left wanting. If you find that not enough results are being returned, simply broaden your search terms a little.

Another tip with your search terms is to use quotes ("") around your words. This is good if you want to search for a particular phrase such as "Jeep Cherokee Floor Mats". By placing quotes around your phrase, most search engines will return only pages containing the exact phrase you have specified.

There are also many other features of search engines that will allow you to narrow your search. "AND" and  "OR" are just features that can come in handy. To find out what features a particular search engine offers, visit their help page.

Topic Based Sites

Another trick with searching the internet is to find a site offering searches which focus on a single topic. For example, if I wanted to find a Private Investigator, a site containing a searchable Private Investigator directory will 9 times out of 10 return a better result, with far more relevant information, than a broad directory or a search engine. Another advantage to this is that topic based directories may also contain information about businesses which do not yet have a web site online.

Search for a Private Investigator using a directoryTo find sites offering this sort of information, either use a broad search on the topic of your choice at a directory, or use a term such as "Private Investigator Directory" at a search engine.

You'll find we also have a number of on topic searches available here at All Searches. These include such searches as Thesauri, News, Audio Files, and Encyclopedia.


Whilst some of the tips here may seem daunting at first, once used a few times they will become second nature to you. Choose your search well, choose your search terms well, and you'll reap the benefits.

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