How to use search engines

In this tutorial, I will be focussing on Google since it is one of the most powerful search engines in terms of features. However, many of the techniques featured here may also be used with other search engines.

I know many people who only use the most basic methods of searching. For instance if they are looking for hot dog stands in Nebraska, they would type hot dog stands Nebraska. Typing in this string causes Google to look for any pages containing the words "hot", "dog", "stand", or "Nebraska". Pages with most, or all, of these words would typically appear near the top of the search. The problem arises though in that a site could have the sentence, "my dog became too hot while standing outside in Nebraska." This is obviously not what the individual was searching for.

A better method for searching is to put phrases into double-quotation marks like the following: "hot dog stand" Nebraska. Now Google would return pages with Nebraska or "hot dog stand" and, again, pages with both search criteria would typically be higher in the list.

An even better method would be to use boolean operators in the search. Don't be scared off, this is an easy technique to grasp. If one searches for +"hot dog stand" +Nebraska, both Nebraska and "hot dog stand" have to be listed in the pages for Google to list it.

You may use the search box below to test these various methods for your own searches. This search box is only a convenience and I do not track any of the searches being performed through it; all submissions go straight to Google. However, if you would feel better using Google's main page, you may access it from this link.


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Last edited: 2017-09-18