By Timo Selvaraj
Even with the best web content and smartest search implementation, it all comes down to the ability of the users to type in the right words or search phrase to find the right content for the right context at the right time. Most users are happy typing in a word or two to view the search results or follow the auto-complete suggestions to find the results. The regular search terms can be enhanced to narrow down on the right document or web content with a few smart operators.
Use leading or trailing wildcard character ‘*’ with your search terms.
*ing – Find terms that end in ‘ing’ like wing, cling, ring
cl* – Find terms that start with ‘cl’ like cloud, close, click
You can use the fuzzy operator ‘~’ to search for similar terms but not exactly like the search terms.
web~ – Find terms like wed or west
You can find terms that are within a certain proximity of each other using the proximity search operator.
“web technology”~10 – This will find results where the terms “web” and “technology” are within 10 words of each other. This is different than the phrase search “web technology” which looks for web and technology as a phrase.
Negative Boolean Search
You can include the negative term operator ‘-‘ with additional words to narrow down the results.
web -technology – This will find results with the term web but ensure that the term technology is not available in the results. This is useful to narrow down the context of what you are looking for.
You can group terms using an OR operator and search them along with another term that must be found in the document.
(blue OR brown) AND color – You can find results where you want the term color in them along with either the term blue or brown.
Using the above search tips you can go beyond the standard one or two search keywords to narrow down the results for better context and relevance. Relevance of search results has multiple factors and one of them is using the right keywords and operators to find your needle within the haystack.
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