Need help and tips for doing Boolean search

Hi again
It has been a while, I’ve got exams at the moment so need to concentrate on encoding the brain bits. I just have a question regarding Google and SEO.

Before Google started moving to responsive whatsits (not technical I know - I mean the ad driven algorithms) I used Boolean search for great results. Now it rarely works. I tend to only use DDG but wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t see the problem with responsive SEO as they would definitely find the ‘still a lot to learn’ of DDG frustrating by what it misses. I do use scholar.Google for academic stuff but even then I’m starting to see differences that must be due to similar SEO motive corruption.

I’ve finally made some headway with getting someone to reconsider the disinformation they are sharing and so I want to offer them a formula for a Boolean search or at least some kind of guideline to get to more reputable information.

I’ve looked and looked but all I get are articles about how to manipulate the SEO from the POV of someone trying to promote sales or whatever. I haven’t been able to find anything which explains these changes for layfolk and gives them some tips on how to approach this new Google.

Any tips/comments/jargon/links on this topic would be hugely appreciated.
Also is there FedSearch in any manifestation that is user friendly for us layfolk (ie doesn’t require signing up etc).

TIA if you can help!

Specifically on this - I’m planning to do some info literacy comms… probably simple definition and concept based articles in a series that teaches about perception; advertising tools; ID privacy and a meme template and series to illustrate some key points. Is that something I could publish on this?

I use DuckDuckGo for some years now, and totally used to it. It gives me great results, also for software development, and I rarely have to fall back to using Google Search (which I find cluttered more and more with irrelevant SEO results or Ads on the first result page). If I have to fall back I just add the g! bang to the DDG query.

Wrt Boolean search I believe that both search engines have made it harder or removed support (dunno exactly). They favor adding (multiple) keywords between quotes in order to return exact matches. But don’t pin me down on this :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

You sure can, and it would be welcome.

Thanks! I was completely unaware that g! existed. If I’m understanding you correctly it will send the crawler off to search Google too? So does S.G! search Google scholar?

BTW your reply prompted me to have a squizz and I found this org I have never come across before with a great list of search engines!

You are redirected to the other site with the same search query. There are many different bangs e.g. !w for Wikipedia. See:

Could you clarify what you mean?

As far as I know the main problem with Google is most searches now result in zero clicks, meaning you click on one of their sneaky ads which misdirects you, or Google gives answers directly (via content they often steal illegally) or you can see what you want in the scraped snippets or images… and so you never actually click on any site except for Google.

Another issue with Google is they promote videos rather than real results, this is because they own YouTube and video ads have huge earnings per view.

A third issue is they spy on you and save all your activities forever.

But as to the actual search results (if you can still find them) they are about equal in quality to the other search engines.

What is your question regarding SEO, as that I something I know much about.

That’s what I’m referring to as the ad based algorithms but I hold my hand up that I don’t have technical expertise so there is a good chance I’m using the wrong language to describe what I’m experiencing. Thanks for clarifying a bit more detail.

I may be misleadingly conflating two different overlapping things though ie:
Google algorithm updates relating to ad sales and own content promotion
Opportunistic exploitation of SEO

About a decade ago when my Boolean search skills were quite good and algorithms were more aligned with what I’d imagine were common public expectations; I was looking for reviews on an appliance. I’d previously read articles in choice mag but these were now paywalled and I didn’t want to subscribe (mainly because of the hassle). I noticed that the ‘10 best’ ‘review’ articles were full of obscure brands and I twigged that these ‘review’ sites were literally SEO oriented window dressing.

This is what I’m referring to as ‘opportunistic exploitation of SEO. I don’t know the technical term for this but it’s clear to me that this strategy is a big part of information warfare. It also seems likely that the relationship between key word breadcrumbs and the conviction people have about a particular topic works so well because if someone is familiar with the jargon associated with a sector or an area of expertise then they will use acronyms for trusted sources eg peak bodies, scientific journals etc. If they are naive in a topic they will tend to type in what someone tells them to type in and they will then be of the impression that “it’s all over the news”. I’ve done these searches myself on a few occasions just to understand how people become so convinced of something which is demonstrably false.

What hurts my head is when I see people who know the trusted sources; know how to evaluate a scientific paper; know the importance and granularity of subject specific expertise; and yet promulgate falsehoods themselves - human bias in technicolor.
We become much more attached to ideas we’ve invested a lot in.

This is sooo useful!!! I may have to teach it some geographically trusted sources but now I know how to do that at least. THANKS!

The feedback I gave them a few days ago was that I’d like to see some source categorisation under each search result. I think it would be a fantastic priming/reinforcing educational tool to familiarise people with what is considered a trusted source. I’m thinking something along the lines of ‘ngo/nfp’ ‘gov’ ‘peak body/prof assoc.’ ‘multinational’ ‘sme’ ‘SAS’ ‘open source’
To be honest I haven’t entirely thought it through because my own info literacy is probably primary level atm and also universal symbols may work better - something similar to the Creative Commons set. I hope that makes sense.

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Ah yes, those kinds of web sites are called content farms and made-for-AdSense sites. These terms refers to low quality cheaply written original content which is just paraphrased from other sources. Examples are top 10 lists, how-to-sites, and articles written to the exact length to satisfy the search engine monopoly Google. Some of these sites have earned $100s of millions. AdSense is the brand name for Google Ads on third party sites, since Google is an ad monopoly these sites are practically forced to show Google ads.

Broadly speaking yes. I’m talking about using those tools to promulgate disinformation. There are a plethora of shopfront ‘news/media’ websites which publish convincing well written content that is demonstrably false. There is also clearly a similar approach to publishing scientific papers (although those papers don’t make it past peer review) because it’s easy to trick layfolk into believing it is a legitimate paper because it’s published on a science database - they don’t notice and/or don’t understand the importance of the term ‘pre-print’. Then articles are written citing those studies and the ‘wonderful’ world of information warfare rolls on. So I’m talking about AdSense-as-information-warfare I guess?

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