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Getting Search Engine Results
by Tonna Kutner

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Ever have trouble finding exactly what you want from a search engine?  Not surprising since there are now billions of web sites.

Search Engine Basics:  I’ll use Google as an example, but other search engines are similar.  Enter your keywords in the box.  No need to capitalize letters or put in punctuation.  Touch enter or click search.   Sites that have paid for exposure will appear at the top.  Scroll down to look at the other sites.  Ten sites are listed per page and there are numbers at the bottom to see the next ten.  Notice at the top it lists how many sites were found for the keywords you typed in.  A large number means you might want to narrow your search.  

Narrow your search:   Add more specific words to narrow your search.  For example, you are looking for information on Susan B. Anthony.  Typing her name brings up almost a million sites.  If you want information on her arrest and trial for voting enter susan b anthony arrest and trial for voting.  You can now see fewer sites with more pertinent information.  Note that “and” and “for” are ignored.

If you’re looking for something in your area, narrow your search by adding your specific town or neighborhood to your keywords.   You might be surprised to find something just around the corner.

Advanced Search Features:  On Google there is a link called Advanced Search.  Click on the link and a dialogue box appears showing the special searches you can make.  You can also enter symbols in the standard search box and get the same results.  Use what makes sense to you.   Notice you can also change the default of 10 sites per page so you can see up to 100 results at once. 

With All the Words:  This box is the default on Google.  The engine will return sites that feature all of your keywords, then sites that only have some of your words.  If your engine works differently, use this box, or in the standard search box , enter a plus before your words.  For example: susan +b +anthony +arrest +trial +voting.

With Exact Phrase:  This means keywords entered must appear together in the sites displayed.  For example, you seek genealogy information for the Hovey family.  A search on hovey genealogy gives thousands of results.  Entering hovey genealogy in this box gives fewer results where hovey and genealogy are always together.  You can also get this result by placing quote marks around the words in the standard search box. 

With at Least One of the Words:  This allows you to expand your search.  For example you could enter “hovey family genealogy” “hovey genealogy” in this box and get sites that had either of the exact phrases.  You could also enter “hovey family genealogy” OR “hovey genealogy” in the standard search box.

Without the Words:  This allows you to omit sites that contain certain words.  For example, you are looking for Susan Anthony – not Susan B. Anthony.  Enter susan anthony in the top box and b in the Without the Words box.  This could also be entered on the standard search box as susan anthony –b (be sure to put a space before the minus and no space after it).

Happy searching.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in Northwest Woman Magazine www.northwestwoman.com, December  2003.  Copyright Tonna Kutner

-Making sense of technology-


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