Google, Bing, and Yahoo will find anything you are looking for provided that you ask them correctly. The problem with these search engines is that if you aren't careful, you will end up with far too many results. And 99% of those results will not relevant to you and your needs. For example, when I search for "private schools" on Google, I get 1.5 billion search results. Nobody has time to look through all those schools. With that in mind, here are a few search tips to help you search more efficiently.
Save interesting sites.
Before we start searching for schools, take a few minutes to set up a Google or Word doc. Save interesting school websites for easy reference tomorrow, next week, or a month for now. Doing this will save you valuable time and keep your search process organized.
When you enter the term private schools without quotes in Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you will get millions, even billions, of results. By surrounding your search term with quotation marks, you will restrict the results to precisely what you have specified. For example, "private schools raleigh nc" will produce a list of private schools in Raleigh, North Carolina. You will still have to filter the results to find schools which match your requirements.
This video offers 12 useful Google search tips and tricks that you should be using.
If you are looking for Jewish schools in Nashville, Tennessee, enter jewish schools nashville, tn You will still have to filter the results, because depending on the keywords which various websites use in their meta-tags, unwanted entries will turn up in the search results. For example, if the keyword jewish appears in the meta-tags on a TV station's website, that TV station will probably show up somewhere in your search results.
When you include a word that you want to search for together with a specific website which you want to search, the search engines will produce a much narrower group of results. The search string boise site:privateschoolreview.com will produce results for Boise, Idaho on this site, Private School Review.
Search social media sites.
Searching social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube will help you find schools to investigate in more detail. These sites can give you very useful informal snapshots of schools and their activities. To see what I mean, compare the photos you see on these social media sites with the professionally produced photos which adorn the school's website and printed admissions materials. I recommend exploring social media sites when you begin to produce a shortlist of schools which you plan to visit and evaluate in depth.
This video shows you how to find any business in Facebook.
Search private school sites.
Private School Review has tens of thousands of schools in its database. It also has a robust search engine to make finding schools easy. Dozens of preset filters allow you to drill down to the specific kind of schools which might be a good match. You can filter by zip code, state, and city, and tell the search engine to look for schools within 5 miles of a designated zip code. That saves time. Private School Review also contains links to individual school websites, as well as profiles, and reviews from graduates.
Search directory sites.
The other way to search for private schools is to use the search engines on national, state, and regional private school association websites. There are dozens of those. While these sites only include the private schools in a given area or locale which are members, they provide another way of filtering private schools according to your needs and requirements.
In this video the Stanford Nerd Squirrel shows you how to search and find articles in databases
As you can see, we have gone from a wide-open, unfiltered search using a simple search with basic keywords to increasingly sophisticated, filtered searches. The commercial search engines work well as long as you add filters as noted above. Proprietary websites such as Private School Review include the kind of filters you need to search efficiently.
Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview