Tips and tricks for better searching
With the exception of search engines such as AskJeeves.com, which will take questions in the form of actual queries, most work best if you provide them with several keywords. So how do you determine which keywords will work best?
Most users submit 1.5 keywords per search, which is not enough for an effective query - the recommended maximum is 6 to 8 carefully chosen words, preferably nouns and objects. (Search engines consider articles and pronouns clutter.) Avoid verbs, and use modifiers only when they help to define your object more precisely - as in "feta cheese" rather than just "cheese."
Now you have your keywords. How do you enter them into the search engine?
Use of Phrases
Your most powerful keyword combination is the phrase. Phrases are combinations of two or more words that must be found in the documents you're searching for in the EXACT order shown. You enter a phrase - such as "feta cheese" - into a search engine, within quotation marks.
Some searches provide specific options for phrases, while others don't allow them at all; but most will allow you to enter a phrase in quotation marks. Check the "Help" files of the search engine you're using to be sure what it accepts.
"Boolean" searching (named after George Boole, the 19th-century mathematician who founded the field of symbolic logic) is a powerful technique that can narrow your search to a reasonable number of results, and increase the chance of those results being useful.
Boolean searches are simple to learn and tremendously effective. The three most commonly used Boolean commands (or "operators") are AND, OR and AND NOT.