Best Search Tip Ever – Use Phrase Searching

Students are supposed to be high-tech and know how to use technology, right? I just led a session for students on how to be a better online searcher and was surprised that they were surprised to find out how effective phrase searching is.

Most of them just plug several words into a search box. So to show them how effective phrase searching is, I had them pair up and put in two different searches.

I told them to pick a name or topic in the news. Each was to do a search for that name/topic but one was to make a phrase search, meaning to put it in quotes.   For example:

      • Oscar Pistorius versus “Oscar Pistorius”
      • Russian meteor versus “Russian meteor”

“Wow,” said one.  She got far fewer returns with the phrase search. And those returns are often quality returns.

This continues to be my No. 1 search strategy — put names or adjacent words into quotes and you’ll be a more effective searcher.

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