12 Tips for Searching the Internet (Part 2)

Search the Internet

Popular Search Engines

This post continues the series: 12 Tips for Searching the Internet. Part 1 covers points 1-5; Part 3 covers tips 9-12.

6) Be specific

When you type in your search terms, sometimes you get results you didn’t expect.  This can often be addressed by adding in an extra word or two to make your search more specific. Not only will this help give you the content you wanted, it will also narrow the results down. When I was researching my book, anything to do with the Victorian Era or Birmingham caused me problems. For example, if you search for ‘Victorian Healthcare’, you don’t automatically find things that happened during the reign of Queen Victoria. A number of hits will relate to the State of Victoria in Australia. In these situations, adding the word England or UK helped. Similarly using the same additions were useful when searching Birmingham, so as not to confuse it with Birmingham, Alabama (USA). One of the additions I used regularly to narrow my searches was the word ‘History’. This was invaluable when searching for things that are as relevant today as they were in the 1800s.

7) Come back another day

How often do you want to go back to a web-site you found a couple of days earlier, only to find it has ‘disappeared’? I know it’s happened to me to the point where I have to go back through my web history to find it again. While this can prove to be a source of irritation, it can also provide us with an opportunity. If there was something you couldn’t find one day, another look could give you what you are looking for.

Reasons you may struggle to get consistent results include:

  • There’s a lot of new content put up each day that can affect search results
  • Web-managers will often tinker with the their sites to get them higher up the search results, possibly knocking others back
  • You may have been looking at a sponsored site that is no longer be featured
  • You may think you are looking for the same thing, but in fact you typed in a slightly different search term (see point 3)

If you are unable to find what you are looking for, it’s worth going back at a different time or another day to see if anything has changed.

Taking a break will also give your brain time to clear and you may view sites you’ve already seen with a fresh pair of eyes. They still won’t contain the answers (unless you missed them first time), but the results you find may prompt you to try a different approach.

 8) Check dates

It’s very easy to put content onto the web, but once it’s on, it tends to stay there. If you are looking for information in a rapidly changing area (such as medicine / medical science), make sure the information you use is from a recently added / updated website. Unfortunately there are many sites that don’t include a date, but if the information is crucial to the integrity of your story, make sure you verify it elsewhere before you use it.

Has this been useful? Let me know your thoughts. Tips 9-12 will follow in the next blog.

If you want to know more about The Ambition & Destiny Trilogy, visit my website here.


About Val McBeath

Born and raised in Liverpool (UK), I live in Cheshire with husband, youngest daughter, and cat. In addition to family history, interests include rock music and Liverpool Football Club. Prior to writing, I trained as a scientist and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. In 2012, I set up my own consultancy business and now split my time between business and writing.
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4 Responses to 12 Tips for Searching the Internet (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Twelve Tips for Searching the Internet (Part 3) | From Story To Book

  2. Pingback: 12 Tips for Searching the Internet (Part 3) | From Story To Book

  3. Pingback: 12 Tips for Searching the Internet (Part 1) | From Story To Book

  4. Pingback: Write What You Know? | From Story To Book

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