Internet Research is labour intensive, but companies need it. Whether it’s searching for contacts, generating leads, sourcing content, events research, generating content or sourcing clients or suppliers, companies need it all. Whether you’re managing your own internet research or a client’s, we have a few tips which you can incorporate and see significant process improvements.
Tips for effective internet research:
1. Use specific terms
Some terms are too generic in nature. For example, if you’re searching for Blue Whale Company and type “blue whale” in Google search, it will give a large number of results including the blue whale fish, game, music company, etc. Therefore, you need to use specific terms, like “Blue Whale Company” and avoid using broad, generic terms.
2. Use search predictions
When you type a search term on Google, you can find the information you’re looking for faster using search predictions. Search predictions are probable search terms that are related to the terms you’re typing and what other people are searching for.
3. Type exact questions
Have a question? Type the exact question into the search box. Trust me, you’ll find the answer. For example, type “what is the weight of earth” and see the answer.
Most likely, you’ll get the exact answer. If not the exact answer, you’ll at least get a lead to your answer.
4. Awaken your inner writer
When searching for something specific, use your hidden writing skills to frame phrases and sentences for a search query. For example, if you’re searching for stories of people who became successful leaders after graduating from the Harvard business school, the try searching “Influential leaders from Harvard” or “successful Harvard graduates”. Try different phrases to get the most relevant results.
5. Refer Google Books
Begin your searches with a simple Google search. However, to take a deeper dive you can refer Google Books. There’s an immense pool of knowledge created by renowned authors available in the form of eBooks.
6. Don’t stop on the first page
When you don’t get relevant results on page one, don’t stop there. Sometimes, you may also find proper results on page two, three or four. The internet has all the answers. They may be hidden for some time, but they exist.
7. Participate in online communities
No matter what issue you are researching on, there will always be an online community to discuss about it. Consider joining a relevant message board or community and asking your questions. There are several people out there with expertise in the subject who will be willing to put you on the right track.
8. Use Google search operators
There are many operators which can make your search easy. Below is a list of some of these operators. Try them before using, since Google keeps updating its operators from time to time.
* “Search term”
For an exact-match search, type the term in inverted commas. It will refine results and exclude synonyms when searching for single words.
Example: “While elephants”
With this operator, you can search for X or Y. This will return results related to X or Y, or both.
Examples: Sports or (/) football
With the ‘and’ operator, you can search for X and Y. This will return results related to both.
Example: SEO and SMM
* Minus (-)
You can exclude a term or phrase with the minus operator.
Example: If you search for “caterpillar –company”, any results returned will be related to caterpillar but not the company Catterpillar Inc.
* Asterisk (*)
This symbol acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
Example: steve * apple
* Brackets ( )
It helps you group multiple terms or search operators to control how the search is executed.
Example: (ipad OR iphone) apple
* Dollar symbol ($)
This symbol helps you search for prices. It also works for Euro (€), but not GBP (£)
Example: iPad $329
This will display the meaning of a word in a card-like result in the SERPs.
It returns the most recent cached version of a web page.
With the ‘filetype:’ command, you can restrict results to those of a certain filetype. E.g., pdf, docx, txt, ppt, etc. Note: The “ext:” operator can also be used instead of ‘filetype:’ the results would be identical.
Example: Google filetype:pdf / Google ext:pdf
It limits results to those from a specific website.
It finds sites related to a given domain.
With this command, you can find pages with a certain word (or words) in the title. In below example, any results containing either “apple” or “iphone” in the title tag will be returned.
Example: intitle:apple iphone
It is similar to “intitle,” but only results containing all of the specified words in the title tag will be returned.
Example: allintitle:apple iphone
It finds pages with a certain word (or words) in the URL. For this example, any results containing either “apple” or “iphone” in the URL will be returned.
Example: inurl:apple iphone
It is similar to “inurl,” but results containing all of the specified words in the URL will be returned.
Example: allinurl:apple iphone
It helps you find pages containing a certain word (or words) somewhere in the content. For this example, any results containing either “apple” or “iphone” in the page content will be returned.
Example: intext:apple iphone
It finds the weather for a specific location. This is displayed in a weather snippet, but it also returns results from other “weather” websites.
Example: weather:san francisco
It provides stock information (i.e., price, etc.) for a specific ticker.
It forces Google to show map results for a location search.
It finds information about a specific movie. Also finds movie show times if the movie is currently showing near you.
Example: movie:avengers infinity war
A tool is only as useful as you know how to use it. Search engines will try to place the most relevant results at the top, but if your search terms are too broad or ambiguous, the results will not be helpful. Therefore, it is your responsibility to learn how to make your searches both fast and effective. The Internet has a great source of information for those who know how to use it efficiently.