Use Reverse Search Logic to Find Something Online

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If you’ve ever tried to look up a phone number, address, email address, or other information on the Web, you know that simply typing a string of information into a search engine doesn’t always cut it. In fact, sometimes you have to move backward in your search in order to move ahead; in other words, use reverse logic in order to track down what you might be looking for.

This is actually a very common problem and one that many people try to solve by paying for information online. This isn't recommended as these services have access to the same information that searchers do; they just make it easier to find by putting it all in one place.

This principle doesn't necessarily apply to state records, as each state has their own specific rules for obtaining public records). 

Reverse Search Phone Numbers

A few common situations when you need to search in reverse are with phone numbers, email addresses, names, and residential/business addresses. For example, you might be checking your monthly phone bill, and you see a $20 long-distance call to a number you don't recognize. With a reverse phone number lookup, you just enter the number in your favorite search engine and up pops the name of the person or business that number is assigned to.

Another phone-related variation that affects many people from time to time is the number scrawled in haste on a scrap of paper scenario. Reverse area code lookups are also often used for when you are checking out a company on the Web, and they list a phone number but no address. Are they near enough to your location to bother investigating further? You can easily check the area code to find out, simply by entering these numbers into any search engine.

Reverse Search Addresses

Reverse searches are relevant to names and addresses in a couple of ways. As with phone numbers, you may find yourself in possession of just a fragment of information about a person or company, such as the street name, city and state: a reverse address search can potentially fill in the blanks. Or, perhaps you're shopping for a house, driving around a likely neighborhood, and you want to track down the owners of a particular property. Enter the street address in a search engine or real estate search tools, such as Zillow or Trulia, and you may turn up the name and phone number you need.

Another interesting application of the reverse address search can be to research a neighborhood or the locale of a business you are investigating. If you enter a street name in a particular city or town, without a specific number, some search sites will provide you with a list of multiple properties and owners on the street, as well as what businesses are next door or nearby an office building or store (this is easily accomplished with Google Maps, for example).

Reverse Search Email Addresses

A third popular use for reverse search with regard to personal information is finding email addresses. The "forward" mode of email search is to look up a person by name, hoping to find their email address(es). This is unfortunately rarely successful. However, the reverse form starts with the email address, and returns the associated name and location, and is successful most of the time.

This can be especially helpful in situations where you receive a message from a sender you don't recognize. And as with street addresses, some reverse searches will let you find a whole group of names associated with a particular domain, ie. "," "," etc.

Other Uses for Reverse Logic Search

While personal information is by far the most common goal of reverse searches, there are plenty of other niches and examples where the backward approach can come in handy. For anyone involved in search engine optimization, a useful reversal of the search process is to look at links inbound to a particular site or URL (backlinks). This information can help you determine how popular a page is, or verify that a reciprocal link is still active.

You can also use this kind of reverse search to find reciprocal link opportunities, for example, by finding out who is linking to your competitors. This can even be a clever technique for searching deeply on a specific subject, as reverse links from an on-target site will often lead to more of the same.

Reverse Search Logic: A Good Tool to Have

As the Web gets larger and larger with more information freely available, savvy Web searchers will find that sifting through all this data can be quite overwhelming. A reverse search can be an incredibly effective way to find snippets of information you normally wouldn’t find with a straightforward search and is definitely a smart skill to cultivate.