How to Become Search Engine Literate

According to, the Internet has about 6.97 Billion indexed pages as of August 22, 2012. To find a piece of information hidden within any of these pages, we usually go to Google, Yahoo or Bing. If we are lucky, the information we are looking for is within the first page or two of the search results. But what happens if we cannot find it within the top 10 search results? What if we need that information urgently? What if we need to have it in a specific format? What if we are looking for information only from a specific site?

There are smarter ways to search for information in Google. Below are some ways to do that.

You need a book of Jokes in PDF format.
Go to and type the following.
filetype:pdf "Jokes"

When you say, filetype:pdf, it only looks for files in PDF format. If you are looking for a word document, you can substitute the letter "pdf" with "doc" or "docx".

You are a recruiter looking for a Web Designer in Washington DC area.
Go to and type the following:
"web designer" "washington dc" "resume".

If you are looking for them in PDF format, include filetype:pdf at the beginning.

You are only looking for articles on that mention Warren Buffett.
Answer to query like this would be difficult for someone who is not a search engine literate. But, for you, it's a piece of cake. Here's what you would type in "warren buffett"

When you say and then add a search term next to it, it will only search and no other site.

What if you wanted to search for all articles  that mentioned either Buffett OR Munger on
This one is a bit tricky. Based on other examples, if you were to type "buffett" "munger", you would only yield with 6 or so results.

Why? When you type in two quoted search terms next to each other, Google automatically considers it as AND and searches articles that only mention Buffett AND Munger.

To search for articles on that mention Buffett OR Munger, you type the following. "buffett" OR "munger".

You are looking for Annual Letters on in PDF formats only.
You go to and type the following:
filetype:pdf "annual letter"

You are looking to learn basic accounting through videos in YouTube.
In this case, It would be if the videos are a bit longer. This can help you get lots of information from a single video. So, go to and type the following.
learn accounting basics, long

When you add a long, at the end of a search term, YouTube only gives you videos that are 20 minutes or longer in length.

Listed above are examples of some basic searches we perform. There are much more complex search operators you can use to find the information you need. Here is a list of complete search operators for each search engine.

I hope this helps you search better, next time you are on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Remember, more specific you are in the search term, the more accurate information you will find.

Thank you for reading.
Like they say in Nepali,

No comments:

Post a Comment