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How to find the search query URL for search engines

We did a brief post on how you can set the default search engine in Chrome. It’s a fairly simple process but if you’re interested in using a search engine that isn’t one of the four Chrome supports by default i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask Jeeves, you will need to find the search query URL for the search engine you want to use.

This isn’t too hard to find; a simple Google search will turn up results but in many cases, you will get varying URLs and you will have to try them all to figure out which one actually works. To simplify things, you can use a little trick to get the correct search query URL for search engines and literally any website.

Search query URL

In order to find the search query URL for a search engine or for a website you visit and search often, you need to use Firefox.

Open Firefox and navigate to the website or the search engine that you want to use. For example, let’s say you want to use Bing.

On the Bing home page, right-click inside the search bar and from the context menu select, the ‘Add a Keyword for this Search’ option.

You will see the following window. In this window, enter a shortcut for calling the search engine. It doesn’t matter what you use just so long as you remember what you’re using. Click Save and then close the tab.

Open a new tab and in the URL bar, enter the keyword that you set for the search engine. When you see it in the suggested results, click it. Ignore the page that you get and simply copy the URL in the URL bar. This is the search query URL that you need in order to add Bing as a search engine in a browser.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=%s&qs=ds&form=QBLH

You can repeat this process for any website so long as the website has a search feature on it. If a website doesn’t have a search feature, this trick won’t work. That’s not to say that you cannot add the website as a search engine, just that it will take more work figuring out which URL to use.

The URL should work in any and all browsers though the method for setting the default search engine varies from browser to browser. If your browser of choice lets you pick search engines from a list, you can pick your preferred search engine from the list if it’s there. If it isn’t, check how you can add a custom search engine to the list and use this same method for the search URL.

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