You have your computer, Internet access, free time and a query/topic in mind that needs to be solved, but still you don't find what you're looking for? In this article, you will learn the fundamentals of searching the Internet, and a few easy steps to follow for displaying good search engine results for a desired topic.
The Internet is a vast source of knowledge and almost everyone of every age benefits from it. But finding something that you desire in this huge resource can be more difficult than it seems, and that is why some good people (programmers) have designed and published search engines. With the help of search engines, you need only to enter your query; all the hard work will be processed by the search engine, which will display a result of your query to your browser.
There are many search engines existing on the Internet, such as Google, AltaVista, Ask.com and others. Additionally web developers embed a small search engine in their websites where the user can search around their websites for topics of interest.
Here we go with few simple steps to follow and find an answer to your query.
- Select your search engine: I have chosen Google for my searches. In my experience, Google works brilliantly on every phrase. If you know your desired result exists in a certain website, and that website has a search engine function within it, use that.
- Use quotation marks: Using quotation marks is a great way of narrowing down search results to pinpoint a desired topic on the Internet. There are some search engines that read all the data entered in search box as a sentence, but if you use some symbols, you can simplify your search process.
For example, I want to know about the structure of a computer RAM. If I write my search query as what is RAM, it might not be as reliable or focused as if I write, "What is RAM?" Without the quotes, I get results that contain all three words, but not necessarily with the words together. "What is "RAM"?" might be even more helpful a search phrase, since I am more confident that the result will be a document that answers the question.
- Use symbols.
- Using Plus (+) Sign:You might have noticed that when you search for a query in a search engine, the search engine displays the links which might contain few of your query keywords. Using + sign tells search engine that you want the whole query in a document, for example Proccessors+with+Intel+Technologies will display the results that contain all the query words in the topic. Keep in mind that you must not use spaces between the keywords and + sign.
- Using Minus (-) Sign:Using a minus sign excludes any keyword from the query. For example, if I want to search for the query "How a digital Dictionary works" and don't want to display any results with "computer keyword," I would write my query as: How+Digital+Dictionary+Works-computer
- Avoid misspelling: if your query is misspelled, you might get some bad search results from a search engine, so avoiding misspelling can save you. (e.g. color vs. colour, center vs. centre).
- Use Advanced Search option: If you still don't find what you are searching for, then there is another option that can help. Some search engines provide you with a link called "Advanced Search." With the help of advanced search, you can set many criteria for your query. For example, Advanced Search:
- Enables you to search in a specific paragraph of a site;
- Allows you to narrow your search results using dates;
- Enables you to search for specific topics on specific sites;
- Allows you to set a filter for your search.
- Compile your query: Consider what you want the search engine to display before typing. For instance, I want to search for an article on the Internet. Therefore I will compile my query as follows:
- What should the article be about? (Health & Fitness)
- What is the sub subject? (Human Body)
- What is the particular subject? (Abdominal Muscles)
- Result: I would write my query in the search engine search box as: How to strengthen abdominal muscles or What are abdominal muscles or How abdominal muscles work or What is duty of abdominal muscles in human body.
The search engine will display what you have requested but your cleverness is now to make a decision among many search engine results.
Note: Be cautious with the websites that are provided by a search engine. Search engines will search the query for you but since they do not know whether the result is secure or not, read my article on "How to Stay Secure While Surfing Online."