How to Use Search Engines to Find Someone Online
When you are looking for almost anything today, the internet is a standard place to start. We turn to Yahoo, Google or another favourite search engine for everything from driving directions to the weather. With the right techniques and some practice, we can usually find what we are looking for. The same holds true when you want to find people. If you know what you are doing, it is possible to find who you are looking for by utilizing search engines.
What is the best approach when you want to find someone via search engines? The best approach will be the one you plan carefully. We have all gotten lost in the maze of the internet. It is easy to become so distracted, you can quickly forget what you were doing in the first place. Avoid wasting hours of time and effort by taking a logical approach to search engines.
Five Steps to Find People Online Via Search Engines
1. Collect and organize every bit of information you have about the person you are looking for: full name, nickname, date of birth, last known residence, name of schools attended, profession, hobbies.
2. Develop a log of search engine activities you perform. Include the date, the search engines you have tried, the exact phrases you have searched and any leads your searches have yielded.
3. Search as many search engines as you can and utilize country-specific versions of major search engines as appropriate.
4. Search again…and again. Websites and search engine databases are updated continuously with new and potentially valuable information.
5. Refine your search and drive more relevant results by including information snippets in your search criteria from the data file created in step one.
The Right Search Method
Learn to use Search Engine Math symbols or Boolean techniques to narrow your search. Some search engines vary in how they interpret search symbols, so check guidelines if you are not sure. The majority of search engines will recognize and incorporate quotation marks, addition and subtraction symbols in search criteria.
Place quotation marks around a phrase to return results for that exact phrase only. You will eliminate a huge number of irrelevant results by searching for an exact phrase. A Google search for the exact phrase “John Smith” returns 2,200,000 results. A search for John Smith without quotation marks returns 240,000,000!
There are two other commands recognized by most search engines that can help refine your results. Use the + to add information, and use the – symbol to subtract it.
You can add snippets of information from your data file to help you find someone with the + command. For example, if you know John Smith graduated from Victoria University, try searching “John Smith”+ “Victoria University.” If you know he graduated in 1989, you can add that year as well to narrow results even further, as in “John Smith”+ “Victoria University”+1989.
If you find new information during your search, add that into your file and your search criteria as well. For instance, if you find out John graduated Victoria University with a degree in Accounting, it is logical that he could now be working as an accountant. You could now add “accounting” or “accountant” to your search.
Subtracting information snippets can be useful in eliminating unwanted results. If you determine there is another John Smith who graduated in 1995 with a law degree and you are certain this is not your man, you could eliminate returns with this information by searching for “John Smith”+ “Victoria University” -1995. The – symbol subtracts misinformation you uncover about individuals who share some relevant information with the person you are searching for.
Be creative in the information you add when using search engines to find people online. Select phrases based on religious orientation, favourite type of pet, musician or travel location. In addition to graduation years, try searching birth years or the year in which you know the person last moved. Use all information you do have to help you retrieve more information. If you are diligent and creative in your search, the results may well bring your search to a successful end.