10 Web Search Tips

The Internet is full of both good and bad information. Good web search practices can help you to find the best information. Before sharing these 10 web search tips, I’d like to review a few terms. A web browser is a program or app on your device that displays web pages from websites; examples are Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari. A search engine is a website or service you use to search for a particular website, web page, or search string on a web page; examples are Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo. And a search string is a word, or group of words, for which you are searching.

Most web search tips (not just these ones) apply to all web browsers and all search engines.

Tip #1. If you know the address (URL) of the website or webpage, don’t search for it, type it directly into the address bar of your browser; it can save a step. E.g. mars.nasa.gov.

Tip #2. You typically don’t have to prefix a website address with http://, https://, or www.

Tip #3. You can type a search string into the address bar of your browser, or bring up the search engine page in your browser and type it in there. You can adjust your default search engine in your browser settings.

Tip #4. You can be very specific in your search by grouping words (using hyphens or double quotes) or excluding words (prefixing with a hyphen). E.g. mars-rover “perseverance rover” -dogs.

Tip #5. You can search within a website for a search string by using the “site:” prefix. E.g. site:mars.nasa.gov “Ingenuity”.

Tip #6. With Google Search, you can narrow your search results by type, by clicking on one of the listed types: I.e. Images, Videos, Maps, News, Shopping, Books, Flights, Finance.

Tip #7. With Google Search, you can narrow or sort your search results by date, by clicking on Tools and filtering/sorting with the available drop-downs.

Tip #8. You can search by image by going to images.google.com, clicking on the camera icon, and pointing to or uploading an image. E.g. find shoes like the ones in the picture.

Tip #9. Google Chrome is the most popular browser (about 65% market share) and Google Search is the most popular search engine (about 86% market share), but not everyone likes/uses Google because they record your searches. If this is a concern for you, DuckDuckGo doesn’t record your searches.

Tip #10. If you find yourself browsing to, or searching for, a particular website frequently, set it as a favourite/bookmark to save a step and to avoid clicking on an unwanted search result.