Twitter search has its limits. For one, you can only search back so far, with Twitter making public search results available only for a limited period of time. That said, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure that you find the most important search results, and you can even bend the Twitter rules, searching a little further back than the social network’s own search engine allows.
Whether you want to search within a specific time frame, want to filter your results by certain types of tweets (including only those with links for example), or even want to search only within a certain location – with the use of some easy-to-remember operators, and a few handy sites, you can do just that, and more.
Use Google-Like Operators On Twitter Search
Did you know that you can use Google-like search operators on Twitter to narrow down your searches? There are quite a few advanced search features that you can take advantage of, simply by including certain parameters alongside your keywords.
Here are a few key search tips to keep in mind.
- Since you can use the minus sign to exclude certain terms or phrases from your results, if you don’t want retweets to appear in your search results, simply include “-rt” alongside your search term.
- To search for results in a certain area or city, use the operator “near:“. So if you want results from Cairo, add “near:Cairo” to your results. You can narrow it down even further within a certain distance: “near:Cairo within:15mi“.
- If you want to search only for tweets with links in it add “filter:links” to you search term.
- If you want to find a tweet by a certain user, add the operator “From:” before their username. So if you’re looking for a tweet specifically from MakeUseOf, your search term would be “From:MakeUseOf” – leaving out the @ symbol. That way you can filter out mentions, retweets and more.
- Twitter search already is quite limiting when it comes to how far back you can go when looking for stuff, but within the window of time that they do offer for search, you can narrow it down further by searching within specific dates. Adding the operator “Since:” or “Until:” narrows down your search results. So say you want tweets from March 1 onward, you would add “Since:2013-03-01” to your search. Only want tweets up until March 1, it becomes “Until:2013-03-01“. Be sure to use the American date format (YYYY-MM-DD).
See more ways you can take advantage of Twitter search operators here.
Find Results By Influence With Topsy
If you’re using Twitter for social media marketing, using a site like Topsy can provide invaluable information. Topsy allows you to filter your search results based on certain categories. Narrow down the results to display tweets only with photos, with links or with videos. Topsy also makes it easy to narrow down your results by time, showing only those from the past hour, past four hours, past day, past seven days, past 30 days, and all time.
Unlike using Twitter’s search operators, Topsy takes all the hard work out of search and puts everything directly at your fingertips. Another way in which Topsy is particularly useful is that it is able to highlight which of the tweeters appearing in your search results are influential, so if you’re tracking your brand, it’s a great way to find out who in the Twitterati is talking about you.
Topsy also comes with a few extra nifty options including creating search alerts for certain keywords, sharing your results on Twitter, and even provides analytics for terms – showing the volume of mentions on a graph.
Filter Results By Type With TwitLamp
TwitLamp is a great Twitter search service if you’re interested in narrowing down your search results by a certain type. When you first authorize TwitLamp to access your Twitter account, it will filter your timeline for you based on the following categories – photos, videos, audio, links, text and hashtags. It will tell you how many tweets are included in each category, and will notify you when there are new updates that fit each category.
If you’d rather search for specific keywords and check out your filtered results, you can do just that, but TwitLamp does limit the number of free searches to five a day. That said, for just $3 a month, you can get unlimited searches, along with a few extra interesting features.
We did find, however, that TwitLamp is far more useful as a means of filtering out your own personal timeline, but the searches were severely limited in comparison to what other sites have to offer in terms of a search function.
Search Beyond Twitter’s Limit With SnapBird
If you want to bend the Twitter rules a bit, SnapBird lets you search beyond the time limit imposed by Twitter. The bad news is that it won’t allow you to search the pubic timeline. The only way you can use Snapbird is to search your own timeline, or that of another user. That said, it’s still pretty handy, especially if there’s a tweet by someone you spotted and don’t want to scroll through their timeline to find it again.
SnapBird is also a great way to find out just how often any given account tweets about a specific topic.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use when it comes to Twitter search? Let us know about them in the comments.