How to Search the Internet

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How to Search the Internet

How to Search the Internet

If you are reading this article, you probably already know the basics of how to search the internet. However, even if you been surfing the internet for years, there are always easy tips and tricks that can help you search the internet more productively. Following are some quality tips.

Web Browser

In order to search the internet you generally should start with a good browser. An internet browser is software that allows a computer to access and view HTML documents posted on the internet and especially on the World Wide Web. While practically all internet browsers give the computer user decent tools to view and access the internet, finding one that fits your style can help you search the internet more comfortably. For instance, some web browsers such as MS Internet Explorer are created to work well and integrate with MS Windows operating system, as well as MS Office Suite. Firefox is another web browser. This web browser is open source software. Open source software is a term used for software in which an entire (usually non-profit) community comes together to create and constantly develop software for use by the public. It should be noted that no matter what type of computer or operating system you are running on your computer or web enabled device (mobile phone, PDA, etc) there is a web browser that is usually available for your device’s use.

Top Rated Browsers Listed in Alphabetical Order

Firefox: Firefox is an open source browser that is very fast and can be customized with many user created gadgets. Security is quite good and Firefox has received plenty of awards and good reviews for its product. Firefox is available for free.

MS Internet Explorer: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the world’s most popular web browser. This web browser is free to download and integrates seamlessly with MS Windows operating system and other MS applications. Security for MS Internet Explorer is considered average, however since it is so popular many hackers choose to find holes in order to exploit computer users that use it. Internet Explorer does have plenty of functionality, but lacks extra gadgets and add- ons that have made Firefox grow in popularity over the last couple of years.

Opera: Opera is a cross platform browser (meaning that it will work on many operating systems such as Windows and Mac). It is available as a free download and is considered to be very efficient and quick at downloading and navigating web pages. Besides normal features, Opera includes plenty of widgets that make customizing your browser fun and more effective. In addition to using this web browser with a normal computer, Opera is also available for mobile phones and other web enabled devices.

Safari: Originally created by Apple for the Macintosh, the Safari web browser is now available for both Mac and PC. Safari offers an elegant design, fast speeds and many features that help one customize and view the web. Security is also quite good and the Safari web browser is available as a free download.

Search Engines

Once you have chosen a web browser that gives you the comfort, security and features that will make your internet search more productive and enjoyable, the next thing to consider is a search engine. Search engines by definition help a computer user find information on the web. Search engines usually consist of giant databases of many web sites and continually update these web sites with the use of programs called spiders or robots. Search engines are generally free to use and are in most cases supported by advertisements. In order to use a search engine, you generally just need to visit the search engine’s home page and input a word or phrase. Once you enter your keywords, the search engine displays an index of the top sites that it thinks matches your keywords most closely.

Importance of the Search Engine

A good search engine will be able to figure out by the keywords that you typed in what kind of information you are looking for and return the results to you quickly. Search engines accomplish this goal in a few ways. First, a search engine builds a huge database of almost every web site and web page on the internet. Then it organizes these web pages by keywords and other variables and then gives each page a specific rating so that when a person enters a specific keyword or keyword phrase, it delivers excellent and relevant results.

You should note that a search engine might keep records of its users so it can learn more about what people are looking for. For instance, if you are an avid computer user and are constantly looking for software to download and search for the word Opera, the search engine might suggest you links to the Opera web browser, rather than links to opera music.

Popular Search Engines

While there are hundreds or more search engines available, the vast majority of web surfers use about five search engines. These are Google, Yahoo, Ask, Live and AOL.

Google and Yahoo are by far the most popular. About 50% of the English-speaking web community uses Google, while Yahoo usually receives about 25% of traffic from English-speaking web communities.

However, just because more people use one search engine over another does not mean that that search engine is better, but these two search engines for the most part do deliver high quality, consistent results.

How to Search Using Search Engines

Now that you have picked out your web browser and search engine, you are ready to search the internet. Search engines are extremely easy to use and while most people only use the most basic search features, if you require a deep or complicated search, both Google and Yahoo can provide you with some very fancy search features.

All that is required for the most basic search of the internet is for you to input a keyword or keyword phrase. For example, if you want to find information on the automobile “Ford Mustang”, you can simply enter these two words into the input box on either Yahoo or Google. Once inputted, the search engine will most likely return results that include at the top, the manufacturer’s home page, an entry for Wikipedia.org and a few other popular sites that are very relevant to the keywords “Ford Mustang”. However, if you want to delve deeper you will need to modify your search.

Know What to Search For

For best results, you need to know what you are looking for. For instance, searching for “Ford Mustang” is pretty general. There are over 2 million web pages that are relevant to these two keywords. One way to find what you are looking for is to know what you want to find. For instance, if you are looking for a green 1969 Ford Mustang, instead of entering the two keywords “Ford Mustang”, add into the phrase “1969 green Ford Mustang”. Please note that for most search engines case sensitivity does not matter. When you input “1969 green Ford Mustang”, you will notice that the number of web pages is much smaller and the top sites are very different from those just for “Ford Mustang”. The more keywords usually means a more refined search, helping one find exactly what they are looking for faster and more efficiently.

Using the + and – Symbols

Another basic way to search the internet is with the + and – symbols. The + symbol is used to require specific keywords in a search. For instance, if you are searching for a 1969 green Ford Mustang and want to ensure that these 4 keywords are in the web pages that are shown, then input the following: 1969 +green +Ford +Mustang.

On the other hand, if you are searching for keywords in which you do not want a specific word to show up use the – symbol. The – symbol rejects web pages that use this keyword in combination with the other keywords that you are searching for. For instance, if you are searching for a Ford Mustang that is any other color than green, you might want to use the following phrase: Ford Mustang -green.

Sub Searching

Sub searching is another practical feature to help you with your search. A sub search gives you the ability to search a defined index. For instance, if you input the keywords black sneakers you might receive millions of hits. From this point, you can start visiting each page in the index or conduct a more detailed search of the web pages already listed. Many search engines like Google and Yahoo allow you to add additional keywords and search within the results already listed. For instance, in Google, once you complete your initial search, you can click on the “search within results” link and add keywords. This should give you a more in depth search listing. Alternatively, you can just add keywords into the search box and click search to give you the same results.

Search by Language

Using the search by language feature available on most search engines can help you search for certain terms better. For instance, if you are searching for a term that appears in many languages, you can easily search for ones that are written in your language of choice. This feature may be helpful when searching for information on an artist, historical figure, etc.

Translate Page

Sometimes we search for terms that have very few results; even worse, many of these results are in a foreign language. With “translate page” – a feature offered by many larger search engines – you can read the contents translated from its source language to your language of choice.

Advanced Search Techniques

Besides basic search techniques discussed above, there are more advanced search techniques for those that need all the help they can get to find specific information on very small niches or terms that are used infrequently. For those that look for general search terms, you might never need to use a search engine’s advanced features, but if you ever have trouble finding the information that you need, at least you know it is available.

Advanced Search

Advanced search is a resource that many search engines offer and is extremely easy to use. If you find you are having difficulty finding information on a specific topic or keyword, you might want to use the search engine’s advanced search function. For instance, to use Google’s advanced search function click on the link called Advanced Search located to the right of the input search box. Once you click on this link, you will be brought to a new page with many options available to you to search for terms, keyword phrases, etc. Options include the ability to search using only specific keywords, search for words without specific keywords, search for different types of formats like PDF, PPT, DOC, search for a term or keyword phrase located on a specific domain, search government databases, etc. With the advanced search function, the vast majority of users will be able to find what they are looking for.

Advanced Searches Using Search Engines to the Max

It should be noted that for power users that would like to use search engines to their maximum potential, the search engines are more than happy to help you learn about their different functions and features. In fact, most search engines include tutorials on how to get the most out of their search engines. Even a few do it yourselfers have created their own web pages, videos and podcasts on getting the most out of search engines. If you really want to use these search engines to their maximum potential the information is out there and easily attainable.

Subject Directories

For those that would like to search for information on one specific subject, you might want to use subject directories. Generally speaking, subject directories focus on a specific subject and are frequently made up of sites that have been selected and reviewed by humans as being the best sites for specific types of information. For instance, if you are constantly doing research on the human eye, you might want to find a subject directory solely focused on information that is relevant to the human eye. This ensures that the sites listed are relevant and for the most part high quality.

Paid Databases, Directories and Websites

If you are looking for detailed information on specific fields such as research papers in psychology, law briefs, medical reports, etc., you may want to look into using paid databases and directories. For certain subjects, there is plenty of information available for those that pay for its use. If you are a university student, faculty member or professional, you may already have access to these paid databases on campus or in your corporate office. However, for those individuals that require specific types of information, you may want to look into purchasing access to a paid database service or directory.

Paid websites are also another way to search the internet for specific information. Paid websites can give many people access to information on specific types of information. Whether it is a paid website that offers business news and information (e.g. Wall Street Journal) or a special forum that describes the newest game cheats, information that is in demand and in short supply is usually for sale on the internet.

Searching the Invisible Web

Believe it or not, with all the web pages and databases that the top search engines have compiled, there are perhaps billions of other pages that have not been added to the search engines or have specifically requested that they remain out of the search engine indexes. Even though these pages are not in the search engines, many computer users can still access this information with just a web browser and an internet connection. In order to learn how to search the invisible web you should first do some research on how best to access these web pages. There are a few tutorials online that can help one learn the ins and outs of how to search the invisible web.

Using Internet Search Resources

Even with all the above mentioned ways to search the internet, there are still a whole lot more strategies and tools available to get the most out of your search. One way to learn more about searching the internet is to look up and study the many search resources on the web. They can include specialty search engines or widgets that can easily be added on to your web browser to make your search more productive.

 

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