It's not easy to find the right thing on the 'net. If you know the search lingo, it'll be a lot easier. Here is how to become a Search Pro in 10 simple steps.
1. Always use small characters
The search engine will then look for the target spelled with both small and big characters.
Most modern search engines are smart enough to return all results, regardless of characters.
2. Be detailed
Start with many search words, then decrease them if you don't find what you're looking for.
3. Use plus-signs
Put a + (plus) sign in front of the word or whole phrase that have to be in the result.
Not very common to use, but try it anyway. It may help!
Or try the advanced search on the particular search engine page.
4. Use minus-signs
Put a - (minus) sign in front of the word or whole phrase that absolutely shouldn't be in the result.
5. Looking for a person?
If you're looking for a person, a title or an expression, use " " (qoute signs) before and after the phrase. This way the search engine will look for the exact phrase in exactly that order.
6. The wildcard
The wildcard, usually an * (asterisk), is used when you're not sure about the exact spelling or to get all hyphened words or the like.
Another alternative is to use the catalogues sorted on subjects most of the bigger sites have. This is how they work: Say you're looking for sites about dogs on Yahoo. There you'd click on the subject "Sports and Leisure". Then the link for "Animals, pets and insects". In the next step, you'd chose "Mammals", and there you'd find the category "dogs". Now, here you would start browsing through the sites about that particular dog you were looking for.
"Hey pal, the 90s just called and want their catalogues back now."
8. Don't be faithful!
If you don't find what you're looking for, try another search engine, and another, and another... Well, you get the point.
Today only the best search engines are still alive. You won't have much help by using a different search engine. The main reason for choosing a different search engine is to get rid of any tracking or customised results.
9. On-site help
All good search engines and portals have links to give you more help on how to make both simple searches and more advanced ones. Read them first, and save yourself a lot of time later on.
Portals have gone the way of the dodo...
10. Boolean search
Many search engines support a so called boolean search. This is a form of search where you use the words "and", "or", "not" and so on, together with paranthesises, ( ), to tell the search engine what words or phrases you want in your result.