How to get better results when you search a search engine

1946 Views

How to get better results when you search a search engine KEYWORDS: how to search advanced search how to find things on a search engine help with homework school project help

We get several dozen requests for help with homework or school projects every day. While we don’t have time to do your homework for you, these tips will go a long way in helping you to do your own research. The secret to sucessful searches is in knowing how to fine tune the search engines. Here are some tips.

I usually start with https://www.google.com because it has the largest data base and is partially updated every 1-3 days, while most other search engines are only updated every few weeks or even every few months.

Some Tips for Searching:

Always use a two to four word phrase rather than a single word and you will likely get better results in finding something in the context that you are looking for.

If you don’t find what you want the first time, you can try a different spelling, like maquah or maqwah instead of maqu. On the Google search engine, if you misspell it yourself, there will be a link on the first page of results that will say Did you mean to search for..(your search term spelled correctly)which will probably give you a larger list of results.

If you search for a phrase like maqua and mohawk or meaning of maqua, it will return pages that contain all the words, but not necessarily together in a related way.

If you search for maqua or mohawk you will get pages that contain one or both words in your search phrase, but not necessarily used together.

But if you enclose the words in quotation marks like “meaning of maqua” then it will only return pages that have that exact phrase.

If that returns no results, you can try relating multiple search terms by using a + sign(s) like maqua +mohawk (be sure to leave a space before the + sign) or maqua +mohawk +language or you can get even more specific again with a combination like maqua +”mohawk translation”

You can also use the – sign to refine subjects where the word can have two meanings, like buffalo -New York if you were searching for info on buffalo (the animal) and didn’t want to wade thru several hundred listings about Buffalo, the city. The minus sign means it would not list pages that contain the phrase New York in this example.

If you click the link for the cached page instead of the current page on the Google search engine listings, Google will highlight the words you searched for with a yellow or blue background so you can quickly see where they appear on the page to decide if the context is relevant to what you were looking for without spending a lot of time reading.

You can always go back to the link for the current page if you find something useful and you’ll know about where to look. And sometimes the page has been changed since it was indexed, so the information you were looking for is no longer there, but it will still be on the cached page.

Another way to sometimes find some hard to find information is to do an image search on Google (links above the search box) for the subject you are looking for.

In the case of maqua, it didn’t prove helpful, but often you’ll find something relevant when you do a search for an image, then when you click the image thumbnail it will show you the web page the image was on, which will lead you to a website that you might not have found in the web search engine because it didn’t rank high enough.

The https://www.altavista.com search engine also has an image search function. This works particularly well if you are looking for specific merchandise, an object, or something that has a name, like a specific kind of animal.

If a site has a picture of a buffalo, chances are they are probably talking about something related to buffalo on that site. Google considers both the name of the image and text on the page near the image to determine image results, so sometimes you do get lucky with something obscure like maqua.

When you do find a webpage that has some information on what you’re looking for but it doesn’t answer all your questions, look to see if they have a Links, Our Partners, or Resources section.

Often you will find a ton of sites that have related information that is possibly more complete, and again, they are usually web sites that may have been buried in the search engine results.

You can find some real jewels that way. If you can’t find a link like that, go to Google and type links:name_of_website.com and it will show you the websites that are linking to that site which means they probably have related subjects on their sites.

The Similar Pages link on a Google listing will also show you some, but not all of the pages that are linking to that page.

Another way to get answers is to look for a Group related to your subject. Groups are bulletin boards where other people interested in the same subject are discussing whatever the subject is.

Often you will find people who are very knowledgeable who are more than happy to help you out with your questions or point you in the right direction. https://groups.yahoo.com is a good place to find a group on almost any subject, and Google has a link to their Groups above the search box.

If you click that link, it will show you results for only Groups. Google also has a feature where you can search for news stories on any subject, and you can sign up for a newsletter which will notify you each time something new is indexed related to your subject of interest, including both news stories and websites.