How to Use a Search Engine
tips from Lois Richter.
Use SPACES to separate each term in your search request.
- For example, humor research
(which will return a list of all pages which have either word on them)
Use PLUS signs to include a term
- For example, +humor +research
(which will return a list of only those which have BOTH words somewhere on the page)
Use QUOTATION MARKS to hold together the words in a phrase or name. Be careful, punctuation counts!
- For example, "humor research"
(which will return a list of only pages which have THESE LETTERS in exactly this order)
- For example, "Jane Dough"
(which will return a list of pages which contain this spelling of this name)
- For example, "HumorResearch"
(which will return NOTHING, because there is a space missing between the words)
Use MINUS signs to exclude terms
- For example, humor -research
(which will return a list of pages which EXCLUDE the word "research" but DO contain the word "humor")
More about search engine companies ...
Each company chooses which search terms they use and what qualifiers they accept. PLUS and MINUS will not work on some search engines. Some engines use BOOLEAN terms. Most companies include a link to their own help pages, so look at the instructions for your favorite search engine.
Each search engine company also chooses how they structure their results. Some list paid advertisers first; some list by "quality" of match; some use other criteria. (Google.com has "sponsored links" and other ads along the right side of each results page.)
Remember that each company ONLY searches ITS OWN database. If you don't find something thru one search engine, try another. Or use a "meta-search" company. The meta-search "Dogpile.com" organizes results according to which search engine company they came from.