Improve your Life: Learn new search skills online and get better results

On line research is not as easy as typing whatever you need to know about and getting relevant information there and then.

We sometimes end up sifting through irrelevant information that gets fed to us, which could be a waste of time.

CapeTalk’s Pippa Hudson spoke to Jan Vermeulen, journalist at My broadband.co.za. about tips on how to search better online.

Vermeulen says in order to get relevant information online, it is partly about how we phrase our words, making sure that we use the correct keywords.

There are interesting tricks and tools available nowadays that can help refine niche searches

Jan Vermeulen, Journalist at MyBroadband

For example Google has a feature that lets you focus your search based on time – when looking for something specific.

Jan Vermeulen, Journalist at MyBroadband

This allows you to look for results in a particular day, week or month.

On Google you can specify a time-frame and say don't give me results after this date or before this date.

Jan Vermeulen, Journalist at MyBroadband

On Google for example, you would do this by typing in what you are searching for and then press enter. The drop down 'search tools' option will give you time periods to choose from.

It is just about knowing where to find these filters...

Listen below for a step by step guide on how to do a time based online search:

TEN TIPS FOR SEARCHING (via Jan Vermeulen)

  1. Search only SA sites with “site:za” or search specific sites with “site:capetalk.co.za” or "site:twitter.com"

  2. Search for an exact phrase using quotation marks.

  3. On Google, search for pages or articles from a specific period under “Search Tools” . Bing only lets you filter results from the past day, week, or month.

  4. Google is available in Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu, IsiXhosa, Setswana, and Northern Sotho.

  5. If you are looking for images, you can use image search.

  6. If you are searching for images using terms that might return graphic pictures you don’t want to see, turn on Safe Search.

  7. Record your search history by signing up for an account from the search provider you are using.

  8. If you are not getting the results you need, look into search operators like +, -, ~, *, | (words like AND, OR are also recognised).

    1. If you are looking for an answer to a specific question, a general search engine may not be your best bet. Check out Wolframalpha for more technical and mathematical stuff, and Wikipedia for a broad introduction to a topic.

    2. If you are looking for a product or service online, and you are not searching directly on reputable sites like Takealot, Raru, Dion Wired, Loot, Wootware, Game, Makro; or a site you’ve worked with before that you trust, then look for reviews of the site before giving them your money.

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