Understanding twitter search results are divided into sections. On the left, you can toggle between these 4 categories: Tweets, People, Videos and Images.
These results are determined by Twitter's search algorithms, as are the "top" tweet results. Twitter's says, "We've built an algorithm that finds the tweets that have caught the attention of other users. Top Tweets will refresh automatically and are surfaced for popularly retweeted subjects based on this algorithm. We do not hand-select Top Tweets."
For this reason, if you're looking for an at-a-glance look at a topic, Top Tweets is the way to go. If you're carrying out a more stringent search, be sure to click "All."
You can get retweet-free search results by adding the minus sign search operator.
Simply enter -RT to see a list of original results — handy if you're searching for a popular term.
You can look for tweets that come from or are near to a certain location.
Type near: New York City within: 5mi to return tweets sent within five miles of the Big Apple.
If you want to only see tweets that contain links, add filter:links to your search phrase.
If you want to carry out a keyword search for one particular person, type from:username to search within his or her stream.
If you want to look up results based on sentiment, simply add :) or :( to your search.
Similarly, you can look for tweets that pose a question by adding a question mark to your search query.
It's possible to search Twitter for content up to and after certain dates.
Typing since:2012-09-20 will show tweets sent since Sept 20, 2012, while until:2012-09-20 will show those sent up to the same date.
If you'd like to see tweets sent via SMS, or from a particular Twitter client, you can use the "source" search operator to do so.For example, source:txt will bring up tweets sent via SMS.
Did you know you can save up to 25 searches on Twitter?
Simply enter the search term you'd like to save, hit enter, then click on the cog icon at the top-right of your screen.
Hitting Save search means you can access that query again simply by clicking in the search box and selecting from the drop-down menu that will appear.
Finally, if you don't think you'll remember all the search operators, there's an easy fix.
You can just bookmark Twitter's Advanced Search page, where many of these search elements are templated for ease of use.