Tip for Searching Howtos and Instructions

0-88tZsNu0V0MoSkOjBy default Google puts  on top of search results pages which are mature. Mature in terms that older posts having content on search topic have more weight. There are other factors Google uses for determining what will be served to the user, but this “time maturity ” factor is annoyingly strong.

There are many cases when you search for some procedure or instructions for software and get “old” instructions for older versions of your software. One of the ways to make search results better would be to specifically instruct google to search for OS or software issues by adding release number to your string search, but that doesn’t help much – you still get mixed results and have to dig through pages with instructions relevant to 5-7 years old OS and software. And even if you try to add year to your search like this “some procedure 2016” , this doesn’t help much.  So if you are searching for example for “setup LAMP development environment Ubuntu” then you will be served with some pages having procedures for 4-5 years old software. And we know that procedures change with new OS versions and new software versions.

Exactly for these cases Google have Search tools under search input bar. In search tools you can choose dates you are interested in – last day, week, month, year or even ask google to give you everything on topic posted in some period of time in the past by defining a Custom range.    Google_search_toolsAnd this is the only way to quickly find fresh and relevant content on software problem you have or instructions. Don’t choose though last day search for that – last day posts or last week posts may not be indexed yet for many sites. The best results you will get when choosing last month or last year range. Actually last year results are the most relevant and full.

If you are not using Google for privacy reasons then you can use Startpage.com’s search tools. They have same functionality with ability to search by choosing time range for your query.

Startpage_search_tools

Unfortunately nor Disconnect (after it stopped providing google search results) , nor DuckDuckgo – two other search engines popular among users who want some privacy when searching, offer search tools. Bing.com have search tools similar to Google’s.

You don’t need to remember any commands – just a couple of clicks and you get more relevant results when searching for help on your software.

 

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