Search engines have become a lifeline for everyone who uses the Internet. In the mammoth mess that is the World Wide Web, with millions of web pages in existence and thousands beings added each day, it would be impossible to find what you need without the help of a search engine. Here are some best practices to be followed when using search engines, to get the most out of your search.
Type the Correct Words
This is basic, but very important. If you make a typo, the search engine will look for that word. Some search engines are now able to determine if you misspelled a word or phrase. If this happens, the search engine gives you an alternate search suggestion with the corrected spelling. Click that link and it will show the correct hits.
Try to be Specific
Try to be as exact as possible. If you’re looking for information on alterative treatments for cancer, enter that phrase. Don’t type in “cancer cure” or “cancer treatment”. One of the most efficient ways to use search engines is by being as precise as possible.
If you’re looking for cheap car insurance and you live in LA, type something like “cheap car insurance in Los Angeles”. Typing in “cheap car insurance” will bring hits from all over the US and the world.
If you really want to be unambiguous, use apostrophes. Typing in “alternative treatment for heart disease” will force the search engine to look for that exact phrase. This is the option to use if you want very specific information.
Looking for Pictures
Popular search engines now have the capability to look for images as well. Click the images or pictures link on the search home page of the search engine. Enter your search keyword and search as usual. Instead of returning web pages, the search engine will throw up images from all over the web that are named with your keyword. For example, if you type mangoes the search engine will look for all pictures named mangoes.
One of the best ways to use search engines with this feature is to be specific. If you’re looking for screenshots of Windows XP, you’ll get more relevant hits if you type “Windows XP’ rather than “windows”.
Look Beyond the First Page
When checking out the hits, try to go at least three pages deep. Most of the time, you will be able to find the information you are looking for on the first page. But sometimes the pertinent info might be on the next page, so go ahead and give the next few search pages a try. Some users are known to browse five to ten pages.
If the info isn’t there, try rephrasing the words you type. Also, try to be more general if a very specific search does not yield satisfactory results. Being specific in your searches can limit the number of hits returned.
Other Ways to Use Search Engines
Many search engines have a directory search feature. You can use this as an alternative to the traditional way of looking for information. Others allow you to search for blogs and videos too.
The popular search engines also let you create free accounts on their sites. This will give you free email as well as access to other features provided by the search engine company. You can get specific data about sports, the weather and entertainment. You can also get information about business and updates on the issues you want. Some search engines have special searches customized for online shopping.
Knowing the most efficient ways to use search engines is the key to getting the most out of them. Their extensive features list shouldn’t intimidate you; rather they are meant to help you maximize your time on the Net.