Learn about the search logic used in major social networks

After doing a basic search on Twitter, Google Blog Search, and Youtube, many users were already asking themselves: How does this search engine work?

Every site has its own search engine, with its own unique features and acronyms, which becomes confusing as the user utilizes the somewhat more complex search features. It's common for users to come up with undesired results, and often they do not manage to complete their search in a satisfactory manner.

To make the user's life easier, we created a quick guide that explains the methods of performing searches using the leading social media sites. Knowing how to extract the exact keywords from such sites becomes a strategic matter for carrying out efficient listening on social media.

The Twitter search engine is one of the most comprehensive systems of the leading social media sites. The controls of this platform are similar to that of other sites analyzed here, so Twitter Search will be used as a comparative parameter for the other search engines.

Searches on Twitter


The order of the results of the search is not organized from most recent to the least.

Twitter provides a series of commands that can be used in searches Link: http://twitter.com/#!/search-advanced

General Searches. Example: vivo cellular

  1. When searching: vivo cellular, the two words are indicated for each mention found.
  2. Searches yield only mentions that have ALL of the words in the search. If you search "vivo cellular dark red", the search will only find mentions that contain all of these words, regardless of their order.

Precise Searches. Example: "vivo cellular"

  1. When searching "vivo", the engine looks for all posts that contain this word. If you would like to do a search on the company Vivo and search the word "vivo" only, in addition to results relating to the company, you will also get the word in expressions like "in vivo", for example.
  2. One solution to this kind of search would be to add an article before the company name. "the Vivo", "the Claro". This doesn't always work. In an "A Azul" search, with the intention of finding "Azul airlines", 15 mentions were found. Out of these, 8 had nothing to do with the company.
  3. Lower and upper cases make no difference.
  4. If you search "vivo cellular", all of the results will contain the consecutive words "vivo cellular".

Searches with OR. Example: vivo OR cellular

  1. When you enter vivo OR cellular into a search, it finds mentions that contain the words vivo or cellular, without both words appearing in the same post.
  2. If you enter cellular OR vivo OR orange into a search, it will find posts that contain one of these keywords. You can also include quotation marks (" ") in this type of search.
  3. If you want to search vivo cellular or orange cellular though, just enter orange OR vivo cellular. The approach to this type of search is simple. The search reads: (orange OR vivo) + cellular. So, words that the search determines to be options are directly linked to the word OR. If the search contains a greater number of variables, just stick with the same logic: (greed OR blue OR red) + vivo + cellular The search will include posts that contain: green vivo cellular OR blue vivo cellular OR red vivo cellular.

Searches that exclude certain words. Example vivo -cellular

  1. This feature is used to exclude undesired words from the search. The minus sign before the word excludes it from the search. If you search: cellular event -Vivo -TIM Today, the search will be limited to cellular events today and will exclude the words Vivo and TIM from the search.
  2. The search identifies vivo (-cellular) as vivo -cellular.

Using Google Search:

Google Search works for blogs and news using the same engine as Twitter Search, with the exception of:

General Searches. Example: vivo cellular

  1. When doing the search: the two words "vivo cellular" are found in each mention, but these two words are not necessarily in the title or body of the post. For one example, when searching for: vivo cellular, the word VIVO was found in the title and the word CELLULAR in a comment on the post.
  2. If you look up numerous words and the search doesn't come up with all of them, it will simply display searches that contained most of the words searched for. For example: for "banana blue green vivo cellular", Google blog search will ignore one of the words without providing any notification.

Searches with the exclusion of words. Example vivo -cellular

  1. The search vivo -cellular works just like on Twitter, but it cannot read the search command vivo (-cellular).

Searches with OR Example: vivo OR cellular

  1. The search vivo OR cellular will yield results that contain either of these two words. You can also use quotation marks (" ").


YouTube Searches

YouTube searches look for keywords in the titles of videos, descriptions, and tags. It can also identify the keywords in HD videos, notes, partners videos, and hidden captions.

The order and selection of videos that appear in the search can be organized by the user using these criteria: relevance, most recent, older, most seen, and rating.

YouTube uses the same engine as Twitter Search, as in:

Searches with OR Example: vivo OR cellular

  1. The logic of vivo OR cellular can be applied to any situation.

Flickr Searches

Much like with YouTube, Flickr identifies keywords on all portions of the web page, even if they're only found in the comments, for example. There's also the option of limiting tag searches.

The order and selection of pages that appear in the search can be organized by the user with the following criteria: recent and trending.

Flickr uses the same engine as Twitter Search, with the exception of:

General Searches. Example: vivo cellular

  1. When searching: vivo cellular, these two words are found in each mention, no matter where these words appear: in the tag, title, a comment, the user's name...

Searches with OR Example: vivo OR cellular

The search logic allows for the use of the expression OR, as in the example vivo OR cellular; it will bring up mentions with one of the two words. It's also possible to use quotation marks " " in searches with OR.

  1. If you want to do a search with more than one combination, you should always repeat the desired word, as in: "vivo" cellular OR "vivo" tablet OR "vivo" yellow OR "vivo" blue.

Searches on SlideShare and Vimeo

The search logic is the same for SlideShare and Vimeo. These ones don't accept search optimization commands like quotation marks "", parentheses (), - and +, OR or AND. If you want to do a search of one of these media networks, you need to only use generic expressions, like: vivo cellular.

Searches on Google+

The logic of searches on Google+ is very similar to that of Twitter, allowing you to use quotation marks (""), the minus sign (-), and OR.

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