Choosing which keywords to search for isn’t as simple as you may think. It is important to be specific in order to weed out unwanted results. However, being too specific will exclude many potentially useful sites from your search results. It is also important to keep in mind that you can search for exact phrases, not just single words.
1. Be as specific as possible. Using the most specific search terms that you can will likely lead to more accurate search results. For example, if you are searching for information about cancer in horses, try the term “equine oncology” as opposed to “cancer in horses.” This is more likely to give you information from professional sources rather than personal stories about people who have horse that have cancer.
2. Think of variations of the keyword you are researching. This means to brainstorm synonyms for your keyword. If you are researching an article on vehicle maintenance, you can also look up car care, vehicle upkeep, or car repair. The more variations that you can come up with, the more sources and more information you will be able to find about your topic.
3. Choose words that are likely to be used by your preferred source. For example, if you are looking for medical information about dogs use the word “canine” rather than “dog.” Professional sources are more likely to use professional terms rather than common, everyday words.
4. Think like an author. If you are writing an article on a topic, what terms or phrases do you want to use in your article? If your article is about newborn care, perhaps you want to title your article “Twenty Tips for Caring for Your Newborn Baby” or “How to Get Your Newborn on a Schedule.” Try searching for these possible titles to see what information you can find.
5. Use the search engine’s options to exclude unwanted results from your search. Many search engines will permit you to use the word “NOT” to exclude specific results. For example, if you are doing internet research on the book “The Return of the King,” you may want to specify “NOT movie” to exclude results about the movie version.