I was using Google to search for freeware. My search produced a bunch of websites that did not give me what I wanted. This post briefly describes some steps I took to get better search results.
First, I modified my search to eliminate some sites that were giving me a combination of freeware and shareware. For purposes of this particular search, I figured that any freeware of good quality would have been noticed and commented on by a number of people. People selling software had a number of strategies to obscure the fact that they were not offering freeware. Not to blame them -- they worked hard on their software, and they wanted to make some money for it -- but what I was searching for wasn't important enough to buy. If there was a freeware solution, great; if not, I'd just skip it. So the modified search I used was this (assuming I was searching for software related to "mouse" and "cursor"):
mouse cursor freeware -shareware -"free download" -"free trial" -"free to try"This got through one set of unwanted results, but I wasn't done. Now I was getting a bunch of websites that offered all kinds of freeware, but none providing what I was looking for specifically. They just seemed to put up any freeware that seemed remotely related, and that wasn't helping me. I was doing this search in Firefox, and I knew of two ways to get rid of these sorts of sites in Firefox. (There probably were similar solutions in Google Chrome, but I didn't check.) One approach was to install the Web of Trust (WOT) add-on, and look for its colored rings next to the search results. These, I had found, were helpful but sometimes alarmist.
Another approach, which I used in conjunction with WOT, was to install the OptimizeGoogle add-on, and start to build up its list of list of filters. The steps here were, first, to install the add-on, and then, in Firefox, go into Tools > Add-ons > Extensions tab > OptimizeGoogle > Options > Filter. My list of filters was still growing, but at this point the list was as follows:
http://*.recipester.org/*I saved that list (Export from the filter list) for when I would have to reinstall Firefox. With this list in place, Google searches in Firefox that found any of these websites would now give me a small, greyed-out line to let me know that my results were being filtered, but would focus on the remaining sites. This, I found, reduced distraction and saved time in other searches.