Basic Research- Go “Boolean”!

Author’s note: This article was originally published back in 2010 by me.  This does make it original content, sort of.  I have re-formatted it and added images, so it’s kind of new,,,,,sort of.   Researching the Internet is a fundamental and vitally important part of affiliate marketing or any kind of marketing, for that matter.  Knowing the Boolean operators will  anybody navigate the Internet with fewer hassles and headaches.


The Internet provides us with many things, from useful, well-formatted information to the less-than-useful and even sometimes useless and even harmful information.   It can depend on what you’re searching for but what’s really critical in your internet search is HOW you search for whatever you want.
If you want to attain your objective in the least amount of time, you must learn how to search on the Internet. For instance, if you needed a new printer would you type printer into the search box of your favorite browser? With such a generic or unspecific keyword there probably would be many millions of results, many of which might not have anything at all to do with what you’re looking for.   You’d get results about printing presses, laser printers, printing companies, names of famous printers and the list would go on and on.

Now, you could spend literally hours sifting through all of these results to get to ink jet printer which is what you’re looking for.   So, how do you cut down on the search time from the start?

First, you must specify the type of printer you want. You type in ink jet printer and hit the enter button. This considerably narrows down the results but you still get many unwanted and irrelevant results.
You’re getting results about ink, about jets and about printers as well as ink printers, ink jets and somewhere in there, inkjet printers.

You are still going to spend considerable time going through these results to find your objective so what to do to make this faster and more efficient?

Instead of searching for all the terms in your phrase ink jet printer, to specifically search for your objective, encase the search phrase in quotation marks like this; “inkjet printer”.  Surrounding your search phrase with quotation marks is called a Boolean Operator.

Boolean Operators are used in Internet searches to narrow results by including or excluding certain words or phrases from the search parameters or criteria. There are several operators in Boolean logic but for our purposes today we’ll just look at four of the most commonly used ones.

boolean ven

We’ve already seen that quotation marks can be a very powerful aid for searching, the next is ‘OR’.   When you use the OR operator between two keywords the results you get will contain one keyword or the other or both.  The more terms you use in combination with the OR operator, the more results you receive.

When you use the ‘AND’ operator between two keywords the results must contain both of the keywords. So the more terms you use in combination with the AND operator the fewer results would appear, as the criteria of the search are narrowing with every term added.   An example of this would be typing in printers AND inkjet, which would exclude everything but the terms printers and inkjet.

The ‘NOT’ operator, when used with a keyword, is specifying that the results cannot contain the term that follows the operator. An example would be typing in printers NOT laser.

Let’s see what we get using these operators in a regular search for inkjet printers:
First, the basic search for printer with no operators yields (search on Google) 242,000,000 results!   How long will it take you to deal with that?

How about printer AND inkjet? 11,900,000 results, way, way too much info still!

To limit the search results further we’ll go with printers AND inkjet NOT laser.  By excluding the laser criteria we get 3,560,000 results.

With the quotation marks “inkjet printer” NOT laser we get 879,000 results which is one heck of a lot better than 242,000,000 results to sift through in our search.

The power of Boolean Operators when searching the Internet is clearly obvious by the examples above. These results can be narrowed much further by applying the operators in different ways and by combining them with other relevant terms and keywords .   Play around with these search methods and get to know them because
they will serve you well if you use the Internet for any kind of research.


Woodco is a company name derived from my last name, Woodruff. I'm currently on sabbatical from Southern New Hampshire University where I majored in public relations and marketing while I minored in getting into hot and heavy political discussions. I'm also a freelance writer and affiliate marketer/

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, research
One comment on “Basic Research- Go “Boolean”!
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