A majority of the internet search engines offer a variety of search operators (i.e, commands) to conduct competitive intelligence research in an efficient manner. For the purpose of this blog post, we will use Google to demonstrate the following three search operators to find reports regarding the automobile industry.
The filetype: operator allows you find information in a specific file format. The majority of reports that are on the web are in .pdf. As a result, you should enter your keywords before the operator, “filetype:pdf” in the search query box. Figure 1 illustrates how the query should look using the search terms, “automobile industry” and “trends”.
You may want to used different keywords beside “trends”, such as “outlook”, “forecast” or “growth” since they are the most used keywords in a market or industry research report. Also, do not be afraid use past or current buzzwords and specific a geographical region.
The allintitle: operator provides you with the control to tell Google that you want the keywords to appear in the title of pages that retrieved. Let’s take an example of trying to find a report or an article titled, “Global Automobile Outlook”. In Google, you would enter the query as seen in Figure 2.
Results from such a query may lead you to abstracts to reports where you can decide to buy the data or extract certain details from it.
The allinurl: operator provides you with the ability to find information based on the appearance of keywords in an URL or web address. This operator is extremely useful because of the amount of blogs that are being indexed by search engines. Titles of blog posts are sometimes used in the permalinks of the blog. Let’s apply the operator with the keywords, “Automobile Industry”, “Statistics” , “2010″ in Google as seen in Figure 3.
Titles from this search query will allow you browse quickly until you find the appropriate page with relevant information.
Searching efficiently is composed of two elements. 1) Knowing where to search and 2) Knowing how to search. The first element is taken care of thanks to powerful search engines however; the second element is up individuals who have specific needs for information. To meet the needs, individuals must use a set of search methodologies and operators to find relevant information amongst a deep sea of online content.