The internet contains a lot of information.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are popular and potentially effective search engines to help find specific data. Unfortunately, many users are relatively inefficient in using these search engines.
Today, some advice and concrete tools to improve your internet search results.
When you conduct an internet search you usually get tons of results. Googling my name came up with 98.3 million responses. I know I am popular, but that impresses even me.
Most searchers do not go through all 98.3 million results. I usually stop reviewing websites at about the 50 million mark. Hey, I only have so many hours in a decade.
Searchers Often Do Not Dig Deep Enough
In fact, most Google searchers probably only look at the first page or two of results when tracking down information on a search term. According to a study by Optify , the top response yields a 36.4% click-through rate (CTR) by searchers. The top 10 results yield 89.0%.
While the top 10 results have overwhelming CTRs, just being on the first page is also important. “The average CTR on Page 1 of Google was 8.9 percent, but the average CTR on Page 2 was 1.5 percent. “
So out of 98.3 million references to the search term, a person may only review 5 to 10 results. And likely not more than 25.
That leaves a lot of possibly important information being overlooked. Information that may be crucial in your analysis.
Dig a little deeper in your search results. Not 50 million deep, but a few pages in at least. It may give you a competitive advantage over your peers.
Page One Results May Not Be The Best Results
Often the information contained from links on the first page may not be best for your needs.
Hey, among other things, who knew I was a photographer, a black male basketball star, and a white female basketball star? If nothing else, from a Google search I appear to be quite versatile. Especially as out of my limited talents, basketball is definitely nowhere to be found.
If you know me, you know I am a white male non-basketball player. But if you have no knowledge about me, you might be led down the wrong track. In fact, just last week the new Italian government went down the wrong path leading to interesting consequences  (Mamma mia, the Euro is doomed with these guys in charge!).
Be careful when searching for things in which you have limited knowledge. If you are researching business uses of nanotechnology, you may get the equivalent results of a black male basketball player and white female basketball player on page one. If you know little about this subject, how will you know which one to follow in your analysis?
If you are researching a paper for a school assignment, a project at work, investment analysis, etc., you need to be sure to access the best possible information on the subject.
Use Correctly Defined and Detailed Search Terms
A good way to do so is to do a better job of using your search terms.
In my case, adding “Chartered Financial Analyst” (CFA) to my name reduces the search results from 98.3 million to 631,000. And nary a basketball player in sight.
The CFA designation is global, so let us be a tad more specific. Change the “Chartered Financial Analyst” to “Chartered Accountant”and results drop to 108,000. Add CFA back into the mix and we fall to 70,000. Add “wealth management” and it goes to 33,000. Add “Saskatchewan” and I get 24,000 results. And so on and so on.
The more I correctly define the search terms, the better I weed out the inappropriate responses.
Not to mention having the most relevant results ending up on page one.
In a search that yields 98.3 million results, it may be difficult to find me in amongst the photographers, basketball players, etal. But out of 24,000 results, I come to the fore. On my computer’s search I occupy all top four Google search results on page one.
If you are just searching by my name alone, you may or may not find me. But if you take a more comprehensive approach in looking for me, my name pops up on page one.
When searching for specific information, be as detailed as is possible. The results will be worth it.
Page One Results May Be Skewed
Part of the difficulty in tracking down relevant information is using broad terms while searching an enormous internet database.
Another problem is gaming the system by websites.
Say you are a business. You know that the top 10 search results yield an overall 89% rate of review by potential customers. That the top result brings 36% of all searchers to your website. And that internet searchers seldom venture past page one to assess results.
It might just be worth a little time and money to try and get to the top of Google’s (and Bing or Yahoo) page one results. Because of these efforts, sometimes the results on page one are not optimal for your needs.
The popularity of a website or specific information content contributes to its pagerank in the search engines.
You might desire content provided by an obscure professor from a small college. But the search engines will usually bring back content from highly popular sites first, even if it is less relevant than you seek.
This has a lot to do with the traffic, hyperlinking, etc., that is built into the algorithms of the various search engines .
Search Engine Optimization
Websites typically employ Search Engine Optimization  (SEO) tools to assist search engines in linking internet users with the website data.
These tools can be automatically used in one’s website This is the way I operate, by manually including key words and phrases from a post in the SEO description.
Or websites can hire companies to help improve their SEO results. I do not use this latter approach, so cannot comment from personal experience on the effectiveness of hiring someone to boost your profile and pagerank. But there are multiple companies offering services, so maybe they add value for online businesses that seek customers.
Websites may also directly purchase advertising from the search engine company  to get on page one of the page ranking.
Not something I use, but for an online business it may help drive traffic to a website.
So some businesses actively try and increase their page ranking through various measures. I have no problem with this, it is simply marketing. However, internet users should be aware that their search results may be skewed to reflect these efforts by business.
As a result, the page one results may better reflect marketing efforts than the best match for the user’s needs.
How to Definitely Improve Your Searches
From the above discussion, a few obvious conclusions.
One, be as comprehensive and precise as is possible with your search terms. The more thorough you are, the better the results.
Two, very few internet searchers look past the first page of results. By digging a little deeper, you may just find information that others overlook in their haste. This may just provide a competitive advantage at school, work, investing, and life in general.
Three, online businesses actively attempt to be on page one of the search results. Be aware that the top results may be in their best interests, not necessarily your own.
Now how can you put some of this in action?
Fortunately, I read an excellent article on “How to Use Google Search More Effectively” . It provides concrete tips and tools for improving your search results.
I knew some of the techniques recommended, but others were new.
The article states that “in a recent study on student research skills, 3 out of 4 students couldn’t perform a ‘well-executed search’ on Google”. So there may be many readers who can also benefit from the tips provided.
Keep my comments above in mind and use the linked tips to be more precise with internet searches.
If you do, the quality of your search results will be much more effective.