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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Day 56: Why Use the Plus Sign When Searching the Internet

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 56: Why Use the Plus Sign When Searching the Internet

With the arrival of the Internet, the world is your oyster.  Unfortunately, it’s not just your oyster, it’s anybody’s and with a pearl of information, you find a whole lot of junk.  Along with reputable companies, advertisers, spammers, bloggers, and other Internet users all vie for your attention.  If you’ve heard of the plus sign and you’re wondering, why use the plus sign searching the Internet, your life is about to become a whole lot easier.

The problem

If you’ve never used the plus sign when searching the Internet, you probably shake your head in frustration wading through pages and pages of useless information.  You know what you want, you formulated your request in your favorite search engine, but you still have to put up with bogus sites, websites with misleading ads, link farms and false listings.

The solution

Next time when you use a search engine, start your search with the plus sign (+).  As an experiment, say that you’re looking for information on owls.  Type “owls” in the search engine and you’ll be presented with 72 million listings.  Now type “+owls” in the search engine and you’ll only get 71,000 listings.  The plus sign removes all the rig raff.

What does the plus sign do?

The plus sign removes (almost) all undesirable info from your search.  The plus sign tells the search engine that whatever you’re looking for has to include the word that you specified.  If you’re looking for owls, the search engine will only bring up information on those birds and will ignore pages that link themselves to info about owls.

Broaden your search

In addition to the plus sign, try broadening your search for a particular item.  For instance, if you’re looking for sugar-free drinks, don’t type just drinks in the search engine. Typing “+drinks” produces about 8,660 results, while “+sugar free drinks” generates only 2,300 results.  Try to be as specific as possible.

Where it goes wrong

Clever advertisers know that subjects such as “love”, “employment”, “pets” and “cars” are hot topics.  They link their marketing pages to those popular sites and as a result, you get flooded with millions of search results.  Fortunately, a few search engines are on to those advertisers and eliminate their ads automatically.  Still, it doesn’t take long to type a plus sign before the word or term you are searching for, letting the search engine know that you are not willing to put up with useless pages.

When it gets worse

You might find that, at certain times of the year, you get presented with more and more junk pages while looking for valuable information.  The problem is obvious, annual celebrations such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother and Father’s Day bring on a stream of advertisers all trying to lure you to their sites.  

Wonder no longer about why use the plus sign searching the Internet, try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and save a whole lot of time finding what you’re looking for.


  1. Thank you for this very helpful information.

    God bless.

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