- Use PeteSearch! The hot-keys, link checking, split-screen preview and term highlighting will save you time.
- Use CustomizeGoogle. This add-on allows you to do a lot of handy stuff like excluding sites from your results, and has just added a cool infinite scrolling feature.
- Learn Google’s advanced options . There’s a graphical way to do these searches, but this always generates keywords you can see and reuse in the search box.
- Look at other search engines. Technorati is handy for breaking news, since posts show up very quickly in their search results. If you’re having trouble finding what you want on Google, Ask uses a different algorithm that may better suit that search.
- Use the built-in Firefox search hot-keys. Control (Command on the Mac) and K will take you to the search bar for example, and Ctrl/Cmd+Up/Down will move through the different search engines.
- Add more sites to the search bar. The Mycroft site has a list of hundreds of plugins, so if there’s a specialized site you already use, there’s a good chance it’s in there.
- Pick distinctive terms. English is full of overloaded words, one example is "Wedding band" which could either mean a musical group, or jewellery. If you’re getting back confused results, try a more distinctive synonym, in this case maybe "Wedding ring" or "Wedding music" depending on which you want.
- Add words or phrases you expect in the result page. When I’m looking for a page I previously found, I try to remember distinctive words or phrases from it, and add those to the search.
- Use the site: advanced operator to focus on a single site. Often Google works better than a site’s built-in search!
- Quote search terms. Normally Google will find pages with the terms in any order, but often you want only those with an exact phrase, for example "Pete Warden" to find only those with my name, rather than any pages with both Pete and Warden anywhere on them.