Snopes Tips: Honing Your Search Skills

How to harness the power of search engines to find the information you want.

Published Dec 12, 2021

"Search area on LCD display, pixelated close up view." (Getty Images/Stock photo)
"Search area on LCD display, pixelated close up view." (Image Via Getty Images/Stock photo)
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Online searches can be frustrating, especially when your chosen search engine offers up an undigestible list of results that include spam, paid advertising, and junk websites. Below, we offer a few basic tips to enhance your search skills and find what you're looking for quicker.

On Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and similar search engines, if a user wants to search for a specific subject and only see results from a specific website, here's how that's possible. Let's say, for example, that we want to search for “Taco Bell.” Simply enter the following in the search box: “Taco Bell” The search for "site:[url]" tells Google to only look at the one website specified. (There's no "https" or "www" needed.)

On Facebook, let's say a user wants to find all posts from a friend or page that contain the word "football." First, head to Facebook and search for “football.” Then, select "Posts" (which is on top on mobile devices and on the left side on desktop computers). In order to filter down to only one person or page, on a mobile device click the filter icon (top-right) and select "Posts From," and then choose the person or page. On desktop computers, "Posts From" appears on the left side of the page. You'll see other options that allow you to narrow your search even further, for example by date.

On Twitter, there's an advanced search option that allows users to search for keywords and then filter down to a specific account. Let's say a reader wants to find tweets from the @snopes Twitter account that mention the word “Trump.” In the Twitter search bar, simply enter “trump from:@snopes.” The search for "from:" tells Twitter to only look for tweets from that one account.

All of the platforms also allow users to filter down to a specific time period.

Happy searching!

More Snopes Tips: Identifying the ‘Right’ Results in a Search Engine

This page is part of an ongoing effort by the Snopes newsroom to teach the public the ins and outs of online fact-checking and, as a result, strengthen people's media literacy skillsMisinformation is everyone’s problem. The more we can all get involved, the better job we can do combating it. Have a question about how we do what we do? Let us know.

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