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Introduction to Web Searching
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Anyone can learn the basics of conducting Internet searches - most of us have entered a keyword off the top of out heads and still managed to get good results. But as in any excursion, it always helps to know the shortcuts for your journey. The secret is to be specific. Tell the search engine what you’re looking for in simple terms and you will likely get what you want.

How to Search
To enter a search query, just type in a few descriptive words and hit the 'enter' key, or click on the Search button, for a list of relevant web pages. Since the search engine only returns web pages that contain all the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered – or subtracting some words to get rid of unwanted pages. Your new query will return a smaller subset of the pages found for your original "too-broad" query.

Keyword Search
By default, search engines only return pages that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include "and" between terms. Keep in mind that the order in which the terms are typed will affect the search results. To restrict a search further, just include more terms, eg., to plan a vacation to Hawaii, simply type: vacation Hawaii.

Common Words
Search engines ignore common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. A search engine will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box.

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it. (Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign.)

Another method for doing this is conducting a phrase search, which simply means putting quotation marks around two or more words. Common words in a phrase search (e.g., "where are you") are included in the search.

Searches are not case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "search engine positioning ", "Search Engine Positioning", and SeArCh EnGiNe PoSiTiOnInG" will all return the same results.

Additional information on Web Searching:

  • Introduction to Web Searching
  • Search engine commands
  • Advanced web searching
  • Boolean searching

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