Two Steps to Better Search Results

As I mentioned in a previous article, people are often confused as to what is and is not “searching”. But even when they know they’re searching, they often give up in frustration when they don’t find what they want.

Searching effectively is the key to unlocking the vast amount of information available to us on the internet. Unfortunately, searching well is a bit of mystical art.

While advanced stuff you can do with most search engines (like Google or Bing or others) is pretty impressive, you don’t need to be a “search engine jockey” to get better search results.

I want to share the two mistakes I see people making most often. I’ll also share a two-step approach to getting better search results that I’m convinced will get you what you’re looking for well over 80% of the time (assuming what you’re looking for exists, of course 🙂 ).

Read moreTwo Steps to Better Search Results

How do I find out when a web page was written?

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How do I find out what date a website or any thing on Google is written. Many times I look at Google to find websites but can never find out when a particular website is written.

In an absolute sense: you don’t. Surprising as it might seem, that kind of information actually doesn’t exist. There’s no place, no standard, no way to absolutely, positively say that this web page was written on this or that date.

The date that much of the information on the internet was written often doesn’t factor in to its value. But there are also times when knowing whether a page is a month, a year or a decade old can have a dramatic impact on its relevance.

While not absolute, and not 100% reliable, there are often clues we can use to determine just how old a page might be.

Let’s look at what some of those are.

Read moreHow do I find out when a web page was written?

An Abundance of Cloud Storage

With Amazon announcing that Prime members can now store unlimited pictures in their cloud, it drove home to me just how much things have changed in just the last few years.

Cloud storage was at first an interesting concept, then a rare but useful commodity, then a differentiating feature between services.

And now? Not only is it ubiquitous to the point of being almost expected, but some aspects are almost, dare I say it, annoying.

Read moreAn Abundance of Cloud Storage

Do I need to have a Google+ profile to use Picasa?

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Leo, do you know what the risks of having a Google+ profile are? I’ve always avoided LinkedIn, Facebook, and all the others. Now, to see the photos that I have paid to store on Picasa, I needed to create a Google+ profile. All of a sudden, I’m a social networker against my will. Yes, perhaps I’m a Luddite, but I paid Google for storage not to enter the 21st century. By the way, I filled in false information at every opportunity and added no contacts. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Google decides to add them for me. The bottom line is can I opt out of Google+ and keep my photos on Picasa? Or do I need another cloud storage site for my photos and docs?

Your question contains a couple of interesting concerns that I would like to address.

Let’s start by talking about social media.

Read moreDo I need to have a Google+ profile to use Picasa?

Why Do Search Results Not Have Dates?

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Why don’t search results display the date created, date posted, or date updated?  Not the date that I include in my search, but rather one that I can see in a regular search? Automatically listed, perhaps, newest to oldest? I don’t think that the results from 2004 or before are relevant.

I’m not sure that everybody would agree that simply picking an arbitrary date in the past makes something not relevant.

Miscommunication, misunderstanding, and a lack of information abound when it comes to the dates that appear on internet content. I’ll clarify.

Read moreWhy Do Search Results Not Have Dates?

If an IP address doesn’t do it, then how does Google know my location?

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In your articles, you often mention that an IP address cannot find out my actual location. OK. Then how does Google know my location … my actual location?

That’s an interesting conundrum. I’m actually somewhat surprised at how accurate Google can be at times, but you also have to realize that you give Google a lot more information than just your IP address.

Let’s talk about some of those.

Read moreIf an IP address doesn’t do it, then how does Google know my location?

How Do I Delete History Items from My Google Toolbar?

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I want to delete the items that show up automatically when I search for something using Google’s toolbar. I’ll admit it, there are some terms there that I’d not want others to see. How do I clear that?

That’s actually a composite question from several related questions that I get several times each day. People search for things on Google, and then they don’t want the evidence of what they searched for to remain.

Fair enough.

But there’s an amazing amount of confusion. Some say “Google toolbar” and mean “Google toolbar”. Others say “Google toolbar” and mean … well, apparently they mean something else.

And naturally the difference is important in answering the question.

Read moreHow Do I Delete History Items from My Google Toolbar?