In a recent study by the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (ERIAL), it was discovered that most college students were not very good at searching for useful information. Students were not informed about how search engines like Google organizes and displays results, or how to use effective keywords and terms to yield the most useful results.
This study definitely contains a lot of context in the lives of professionals who rely on search engines to find information for everyday business and personal use. Instead of fumbling around with endless results, there are proven steps to uncover the specific information you are searching for.
Take Advantage Of Keywords And SEO
In order to rank higher in Google searches, companies use a specialized method known as SEO in order to rank their pages higher. By using keywords and links in the text of their website, their pages will appear in more searches from people using a larger variety of search terms. By honing your words more carefully you can find more specific businesses and information that you need. If you are looking for a special pizza joint in town, it is more effective to search for “vegan, gluten-free, Chicago-style, deep dish” instead of just “pizza.”
Monitor Your Sources
It is tempting to just click on the first search result and treat the information as gospel. Unfortunately, the first search result might be an advertisement, inaccurate, or a personal blog by someone with a vendetta. Trusting sources with domain extensions such as .org, .edu, or .gov will provide you with the most accurate and trusted sources of information.
Use Specialized Services Whenever Possible
It is very easy and convenient to just use Wikipedia to find out information about a topic, but it is not accurate 100 percent of the time. Wikipedia is a public forum where anyone can change information at any given time. There are specialized search engines for finding articles and information about specific topics. Business Source Premier is an excellent way to find secondary marketing research while Nexus LexisNexis is suitable for legal documents.
Another type of specialized search are phone directories and information services. If an unknown number starts calling you nonstop on your smartphone and doesn’t leave any additional like text messages and voice mails, you will want to research the caller to find out who it is. Instead of performing a random Google or Yahoo search to uncover your secret contact, there are services such as Anywho.com and other White Page directories that specialize in reverse phone look-up.
There is an endless amount of news, views, and opinions available online. While it is an enriching experience to view as many viewpoints and information sites as possible, it is important to save time and remain efficient while at work or school by searching smart.