Search the Internet
by Khalil Yazbeck August 03, 1999
A Search Engine
is a tool or a software that helps a web surfer locate
specific information on the web.
Normally, a search engine has a search box that looks
addition to a list of general subjects to restrict your
e.g Universities, Law, Medicine, Computer, Internet,
Health, Games, etc..
famous search engines on the Internet are:
Yahoo, HotBot, Altavista, Lycos, Webcrawler, Infoseek and Excite.
engines are grouped into 2 categories:
or Spider search engines.
search engines are used when searching for general
information. Usually, the search results are
displayed and grouped into categories. If you are
searching for Universities, Companies or Countries use
directory search engines. Yahoo is the most popular directory.
Spider search engines are used when searching for
something specific. The search engine searches
the content of a webpage stored in its database, so when
querying a search engine like Altavista you're actually searching its
database and not the whole Internet. The search
engine might return website addresses or just individual
pages of a website matching your query.
If you're looking for "food" you'd better use a
Directory like Yahoo, you will get irrelevant results
when using index search engines because the index search
engine matches the words you have entered in the search
box with the content of a website, many irrelevant
websites might contain the word "food" and
appear in the search results page.
your way through more than 300 million webpages on the
web and get what you want, you should master some basic
following are searching techniques applicable to almost
all search engines:
Searching: Use it when searching for a specific
subject. For instance, if you're looking for
Internet Solutions you should type "Internet
solutions", put the 2 words between quotations,
so you will
get webpages containing both words (next of each other). Suppose
you've typed internet solutions without the
quotes, what you will get is pages that contain the word internet
and other pages with the
most probably the result page will contain thousands of
- title searching: Searching by title is not
supported by all search engines, however it is very
Altavista and allows you
to get accurate results. By typing title: followed by the
search word or phrase,
the search engine will only look for pages that contain
the word or phrase in the page title (this is the title
you get at the top of a webpage e.g teckies.com online
magazine). The logic behind this technique is that
websites that talk about the dangers of smoking should at
least contain the word smoking at the title.
- Boolean Operators: Maybe you wonder what
math got to do with search engines, well boolean
come very handy when searching on the Internet. By
combining operators such as AND, OR, NOT you can control
the results you get thus search more efficiently. Let us
take a look at those magical operators.
Use the Boolean AND in capital letters between
your keywords and you will only get webpages
that contains both words. If you want to search
for apple pie just type apple AND
OR operator is used between keywords to get pages
that contains either of the keywords.
For instance typing bike OR car will get
webpages that contain the keyword bike and others
contain the word car.
NOT operator is used to eliminate pages that
contain a keyword. For instance typing
Clinton NOT Monica will dump all pages
that mention the Monica Lewinski scandal.
addition to Boolean operators you can use (+) to add
keywords just like AND and minus (-) to discard certain
keywords from search results. Make sure you don't use any
space between the sign and the keyword
e.g +space -nasa will get webpages that contain
the word space and dump those with the word nasa.
P.S: All Boolean operators should be
capitalized, otherwise they will be treated as a keyword.
technique gives better results ?
There's so magical formula to get what you
want from a search engine, it depends on what you're
for, you are often advised to try several techniques to
see which one yields better results on a particular
search engine even combine techniques. For instance your
can use phrase searching with boolean logic
e.g "space travel" NOT "fiction" this
will return pages that only contain "space travel"
phrase and dump all
pages with the word "fiction".
As mentioned earlier, title searching is very efficient
especially with Altavista, for instance if you want to
look for some Windows tutorials on Altavista, simple type
title: windows tutorials and see what you get.
thing to do when searching on the Internet is that you
should stick with one search engine, don't spend time
jumping from one engine to another, instead take a look
at the search engine's help page to see which searching
technique is supported, sometimes the help page can give
you a hand. Try to look for specialized search engines,
although Altavista is one great search engine sometimes
you could find what
you're looking for on a local search
engine. I usually start my search by looking for a
engine and I often find what I want.