Search is simple: just type whatever comes to mind in the search box, hit Enter or click on the >> button, and most of the time you'll find exactly what you were looking for with just a basic query.
However the following tips can help you refine your technique to make the most of your searches. Throughout the article, we'll use square brackets [ ] to signal queries, so [ black and white ] is one query, while [ black ] and [ white ] are two.
Some basic facts
Every word matters. Generally, all the words you put in the query will be used.
Search is always case insensitive. Searching for [ twitter ] is the same as searching for [ Twitter ].
With some exceptions, punctuation is ignored (that is, you can't search for @#$%^&*()=+\ and other special characters).
Guidelines for better search
Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular concept, place, or product, start with its name. If you're looking for an estimate of how many internet users have high-speed internet access at home, just enter [ broadband ]. Most queries do not require advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.
Think how the page you are looking for will be written. A search engine is not a human, it is a program that matches the words you give to pages on the web. Use the words that are most likely to appear on the page. For example, instead of saying [ internet on-the-go ], say [ wireless ], because that's the term a report about internet access will use. The query [ are high school boys more likely than girls to play violent video games? ] is very clear to a person, but the document that gives the answer may not have those words. Instead, use the query [ boys more likely to play violent ] or even just [ boys games violent ], because that is probably what the right page will say.
Describe what you need with as few terms as possible. The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search. For example, [ chronic illness internet ] is a simple way to find the answer and it is likely to give better results than the longer [ internet access among people living with chronic illness ].
Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like "document," "website," "company," or "info," are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use, it may not match the pages you need. For example, [ podcast ] is more descriptive and specific than [ online radio show ].