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These days, being able to find the exact information you need online is a valuable skill. However, sometimes a website’s search capabilities aren’t robust enough to be of much use. For this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to combine a website search feature with your browser’s search tool so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for.
To begin, let’s go over one of the most valuable tools for online searching, quotation marks. If you need to locate a specific phrase, then enter it into a search engine like Google Search and bookend the phrase with quotation marks. Google will then show you results meeting your criteria exactly, word for word, instead of giving you a bunch of random results pertaining to each individual word of the phrase (which would be the case if you didn’t use quotation marks).
While using a major search engine like Google Search to find what you’re looking for is one thing, using the search feature of an individual website is completely another. For example, not every website allows you to use quotation marks to narrow down a search within its pages.
If you run into this problem, try instead using the website’s search feature to look for one of the two keywords, like “email,” and then use your browser’s search function to search for a second keyword, “hosting.”
To access your browser’s search function, simply select Ctrl+F. A drop down menu will then appear where you can enter the second word you’re looking for. Next, hit Enter and the browser will automatically highlight every instance of the second word you’re looking for that’s located on the open webpage.
When these two searches combine, you’ll essentially be able to weed through all the irrelevant search results provided by the website and use your browser to find exactly what it is you’re looking for.
Another Way to Search: One way that you can skip having to use a website’s search tool altogether (and keep in mind that not every website offers a search tool) is to search the content of an individual website using Google Search.
To do this, type into the Google Search form “site:” followed by the website URL, minus the “http://” and the “www.” Following this entry, add what it is you’re searching for. So the form should read something like this:
site:website.com email hosting
Add Quotation Marks: To help narrow down your search even further, Google allows you to search individual websites this way and use quotation marks so you can find an exact phrase. For example, site:website.com “email hosting” will provide much more specific results than site:website.com email hosting.
Ultimately, utilizing Google this way may be more effective than combining the website search and your browser search as previously suggested. Although, you’ll still want to keep this double search tip in mind for when you do use a website’s search tool and find that it’s not working for you. Also, keep in mind that not every website makes its content available to Google Search; using a website’s search tool for a site like this will yield results that Google won’t.
If you’ve found this tip helpful, let us know in the comments and check back with NTConnections’s blog every week for more great tips!