Searching tips and tricks – Save time and hit your target first time

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search engine TIPS AND TRICKS

There is a lovely theory that using the internet saves us time but badly used it can cost you chargeable time. Just think about booking a holiday, it used to be a trip to the travel agent and it was all done. Now with the many choices on the web you can be there for hours just trying to get the right location, right hotel, right flights etc.

There are a number of search engines to choose from and the trick is to use more than one. The main ones in the UK are:-

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Ask

In order to be effective your search needs to look for what you want and not what the computer thinks you wants. For example if you search for ‘Nokia phone’ the search engine looks for ‘Nokia’ and ‘phone’ independently of one another so it will come up with thousands of entries that relate to ‘phone’ and have nothing to do with ‘Nokia’. Here are a few things you can do to stop this problem.

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1. Use Phrases

When you want to search for the ‘competition commission’, if you enter that as your search term then you will get ‘competition’ coming up all over the place and only a limited number of results that include both words. So, enter into the search box the word or phrase you want in double quotation marks and both words in that order are then searched for. So look for “Competion Commission” and you’ll get there first time.

2.Use a link word

Tell the search engine that you don’t just want ‘Nokia Phone’. Tell it that anything it searches for has to have both words in the results. So the search now becomes Nokia AND phone.


Always handy if you need a wide search or maybe are not sure how to spell a word. If you are looking for something to do with children but are unsure if it is called child or children then if you search for child* both words can be found

4. Be Specific

If you want the words in a particular order then you need to use both a linking word and brackets. The first word is a query and is evaluated with a higher ranking.

So try using the phrase like this:

Privacy AND data protection AND (regulation or law*)

5. Plus or minus game

If you want to find a particular version of something then you need to tell the engine that you want

that so use:

Sale of Goods Act +1979

That way you have told it which version of the Sale of Goods Act you are seeking.

Say you are looking for a new printer for the office. There is nothing more frustrating than when the first six pages of the searches are for accessories so put your search in as:-

Printer -cartridges


If you find a good site then you want to mark this so you can find this again. If you use Internet Explorer then you can use the Favourites button to do this. Do be careful though that you pick ‘add to Favourite list’ and not the tool bar.

If you use Firefox or another browser you are likely to find that they will call these Book marks and the usual symbol is a star.

Just click on this and it is all done for you. If you use the Bookmark facility a lot it is worth remembering you can create folders so that it is easy to find your selected site.

Really Simple Syndication( RSS)

This is a way to get the information you want on sites you visit often or want to see the updates pushed to you rather than you have to go and search for the news or legal changes. For example, here on Lawskills you can sign up at the top left hand side of the home page to be notified when there are changes to the site such as new articles published. You simply click on the link and you then say how you want to receive the information from the choice of formats. Then even when you are not on internet explorer your software will periodically check the Lawskills site for changes and let you know the changes. You will need what is known as an RSS reader program to do this. The latest version of Microsoft Outlook has this built in or you could use a standalone application like Google Reader.

So why not sign up and have the news come to you?

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