|Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio
© 2003, 2015
Most search engines work in basically the same way. They also have provisions for designing simple and advanced searches. Below are a few general hints for optimizing your search. All search engines provide help pages that explain the details about how they work. This information can help you save a lot of time when searching the web.
· Use quotation marks to search for a phrase. For fairy tales, search for "once upon a time". Without quotes, you'll just get any pages that use any of those (very common, by the way) words.Advanced Search
· Use as many words as you want to focus the search. The more information you provide, the more useful the initial results can be. For example, a search for <sandals leather footwear> may be more likely to produce useful results than a search for <sandals> alone. Assuming you want information about leather sandals, that is. However, using too many keywords can limit your results too much. This is an art.
· Normally, common words are excluded from searches, but you can use a plus sign (+) in front of a common word to force the search engine to include it in the results.
· Use a minus sign (-) in front of a word to exclude it from results. Search for information about cats, but not the musical, try +cats -musical. Exclude phrases in the same way: dogs -"going to the".
· Use an asterisk (*) to broaden your search. To find any words that start with gold, use gold* to find matches for gold, goldfinch, goldfinger, and golden.
Most search engines provide an Advanced Search option to meet specific or specialized searching needs. Various search engines may have different advanced features. For example, you might use an advanced search option to:
· construct queries using Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT, NEAR).
· find documents last modified within a specific time frame.
· provide your own ranking words.
· find words located near (within 10 words of) each other.
· specify the country of origin or language.
· look only within one server.
· list only recently updated pages.
A few search engines you might wish to try
Individual search engines display more or less "useful information" or "superfluous crap" on their main page, depending on your point of view ;-) We tend to prefer Google.