Sunday, 16 December 2012

Search Engine Tutorial

Search Engine Tutorial - Internet, Basic Search Tips, Search Symbols, Subject Directories, Metacrawlers, Spiders, Images - Page 1
There are a gazillion Web pages out there - no exaggeration. Most of us can't even find the letter "z" on the keyboard. That's where search engines come in. The problem with search engines isn't that they don't find the info you want but that they find too much info. Keep reading to find out how to narrow down your search and find exactly what you're looking for.
So how do search engines work? Search engines put together a database of sites by sending "spiders" or "robots" to crawl through the Web, going from link to link. When spiders get to a Web site, they index most of the words on the available pages. When you use a search engine, the engine scans its database of sites to match your keywords to those same keywords in pages in the database.

Basic Search Tips

It's easy to improve your search results. All you need to know are some basics. Some search engines have menus to do this but for others you have to enter the right commands. The following basic commands should be plenty of info for most people and should work in most of the major search engines.

Be Specific

The more specific you are, the more info you'll find. Tell the search engine exactly what you're looking for. For example, if you're looking for science experiments, enter School Science Fair Projects instead of science projects. If you know it's a chemistry experiment, add the word chemistry to your search.

The + Symbol`

Put the most important terms in your search first. To make sure the search finds pages with all the words you're looking for, put the + symbol in front of each word. For example, if you're looking for info on Britney and Justin (like if they're still together) then enter +Britney +Justin. Only pages that have both words will be on the list.

The - Symbol

If you're looking for something specific but don't want tons of other info that's not related to your topic, use the - symbol. For example, if you're looking for info on Tony Hawk but don't wanna read about his games, enter Tony Hawk -Pro -Skater -game -Playstation.

Using Quotation Marks

When you put your search terms in quotation marks, it's called a "phrase search." The search engine will give you pages that have the terms in the exact order of the words in quotations. For example, if you're looking specifically for a biography on Sarah Michelle Gellar, enter "Sarah Michelle Gellar Biography" and see what comes up.

Combining Symbols

Once you know how the above symbols work, try combining them to narrow down your search. A better search, than using a bunch of subtractions, might be to do the following: "Kylie Minoque" -Fever -"CD Review"


Booleans (pronounced boo lee ans) can be used in most major search engines when they allow some kind of advanced searching. The most popular boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT. Booleans are a lot like the + and - symbols. AND means "include all of the words," OR means "include any of the words" and NOT means "exclude." For example, if you're looking for info on music and dancing enter music AND dancing. Your search will bring back sites that only include both those words.

Search Engine Tutorial
Learning To Use Search Engines
Search Engine Tutorial
The Search Begins Here

Most Popular Search Engines

This is one of the best search engines out there. You don't have to deal with the advertising or search directories that other search engines include. Google lists your search hits according to what sites are the most popular and most visited. There's also an 'I'm Feeling Lucky' search option. You click on the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button and conduct your search as normal except it takes you directly to the first site on the list. Apparently the first site that Google gives you is the best site. This isn't always true but it can save you time if you know exactly what it is you're looking for.

Yahoo was one of the earliest search engines on the net. It hasn't continued to be the best though. You can't do advanced searches to limit the amount of hits your search will receive like most other search engines. Yahoo's site is also a place where you can shop, check your horoscope, email and the day's weather forecast. Yahoo also has a great subject directory.
Your search results are sorted not by how popular the sites are but by which sites match your keywords the best. However, Excite's site is really cluttered. If you can find the search tool sandwiched between advertising, news and more advertising, then it will do the job. You can search for images here as well, so that's an added bonus.
Like so many of the other search engines, MSN has tons of shopping options. It also has the top news headlines, a link to your Hotmail account and lots more. The actual search tool is located on the far right of the page, so it's easier to use and locate than Excite's.
AltaVista updates its database (that's where your search results come from) daily. They have over 31 million Web sites in their database, so you're bound to find what you're looking for. It's also a really neat and tidy site. It offers a subject directory, news and ad links - all clutter free.

Where To Go For Images

Have you ever had trouble searching for pictures on the web? If you need pictures but don't feel like spending hours inspecting hundreds of sites for the perfect pic then hit a search engine image bank.
For example, if you head to, click on the box marked The Web, scroll down and then click on images. Type whatever it is you're looking for in the search box the same way you would if searching for a Web site. The result will be tons of great images at your fingertips. Remember though that many pictures are copyrighted and cost money to download. Make sure you check whether the image you want is free before you download. Some other search engines that have image banks are Google and AltaVista.

Subject Directories

If you're looking for info on popular topics, commercial sites, products or a specific interest, use a subject directory. They're usually smaller than search engines but they're created and run by humans, not spiders or robots. Directories are also good if you don't know what you're looking for. Most directories have a keyword search option so you don't have to dig through almost-related topics. For example, if you're looking for math help but don't know exactly what kind of help or math you need, check out a subject directory on math. There's tons of sections that might lead you to exactly where you're looking instead of having to sort through thousands of pages at a major search engine. If you're looking for something specific, it's better to go with a search engine. Yahoo and LookSmart are examples of Subject Directories.

What are MetaCrawlers?

MetaCrawlers are search engines that send your search questions out to most of the major search engines all at once, unlike a singular search engine like Google that just searches its own database. The results from a search on a metacrawler are usually grouped according to the search engine they were found on. You can also search for images through a metacrawler. Here are Kidzworld's Top 5 MetaCrawlers:

By  Charyn Yi

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