How to Use a Search Engine

If you have something in mind or have a question, odds are someone else on the Internet has thought of it before. Whatever you want to know about, you’re bound to find something about it online. How? With search engines. You’ve seen them. They were probably the very first thing you saw on the Web. Google is undoubtedly the front-runner and household name in search engines, but there are many other options like Yahoo!, Ask, and Microsoft’s Bing.

How to Use a Search Engine

Using search engines is easy. But depending on the kind of information you’re looking for, it may need a little bit of thought to be able to find it. Here’s how to use search engines.

Search Engine Use of Keywords

Keywords are at the heart of searches. When you want to look up something online, you use terms that describe that thing. Examples of keywords are “beatle george,” “george harrison bio” and “george harrison song lyrics.” All these are typical keywords that a George Harrison fan might use to find stuff about him online. So that’s the first thing you need when using search engines. Know your keywords.

Search Engine Keyword Phrasing

If your keywords are too vague, the results will also be vague. If you need help with CSS coding, and you just enter “CSS”, you would be bombarded with so many generic results based on CSS that you would in all probability not find what you are looking for. Be more specific and, again, know your keywords. If you are looking for something very specific in CSS like for example, a menu that opens to the left instead of the right or downwards, you can try “CSS sliding menu left” or “CSS sliding menus”

You should also try rephrasing your search if the first batch of results don’t give you what you need. If you’re looking for a William Shakespeare anthology online and get taken to Amazon, try “william shakespeare anthology pdf” or “william shakespeare anthology online free.”

Common Search Engine Phrasing

If you make a search on a familiar topic and yet get only a few relevant results, it may be because you used the wrong phrasing. Here are some common words to add to your search keywords:

“How to…(do something)”
“What is… (something)”
“History of… (topic)”
“(topic)… wiki”
“Best ways to (do something)”
“Top ways to…”
“How to…. (something) eHow”

The list goes on. You’ll have plenty of articles to choose from because many people would have written on various aspects of the topic that you are looking for.

Misspelled Keywords

Another possible reason for low results is misspelling. Check your spelling as you type. Some search engines will automatically detect the error in spelling and suggest the correct spelling, with the corresponding results.

Conversely you may change the spelling on purpose to get different results. For instance “Taoism” can be spelled as “Daoism” and “Book of Revelation” is often incorrectly named “Book of Revelations.”

Other Ways to Use a Search Engine

Search engines aren’t just for finding articles or web content. You can also use them to hunt for pictures, music, videos, etc. You may need to use a special part of the search engine, like Google Images. Here too you use phrases and keywords to find what you need. If you know how to use a search engine to find articles, you can search for images and other media types as well.

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