|Search Engines and Directories, how to use them, list of the main ones and how to include a site specific engine into a site.|
From my Web Terminology page the definition for search Engine is 'A search engine archives the contents of web sites into a searchable database. By entering a suitable keyword(s) or phrase into the search engine, you can obtain a list of pages that contain the entered word(s)'.
Search engines send out software robots or spiders to roam around the Web. They note the words on a page and include them into a searchable indexed database.
An alternative to a search engine as stated above is the directory, where sites are indexed into a database of searchable categories and sub categories.
As a webmaster you should be interested in 4 aspects of engines. Steps 3 and 4 are covered later in the course in Tutorial 14 Site Promotion
Each engine uses different methods on the putting together of there database of web pages, not all sites are included and sites that appear in more than one search engine may have a good ranking (position in the returned results) in one search engine and a very poor ranking in others.
Therefore you should not be surprised if the results of an identical search using different engines results in vastly different pages being suggested.
Once you have mastered "How to use a Search engine" in the next section, and "Advanced Searches" in the following section. You should try a few searches using identical carefully selected keyword(s) or phrases in several of the Engines, and the sites that combine results of several Engines. These are listed below.
You should experiment with both simple and advanced searches
Give a mark to each search engine, the highest marked engine, you will naturally use the most.
From a list of several hundred engines I have selected several of the top ones that should cater for the requirements of most people.
Copernic is regarded as the turbo charged Desktop searching tool.
Free lite version, full version 30 day free trial of buy full version
Downloaded from http://www.copernic.com/en/store/
Step 1 If you are not on line, go on line now. Normally you would open what I believe is the best search engine available www.google.com, but that is not required because for this exercise I have brought the search engine to you, see below.
Step 2 Assumption.
Assume that you are studying the Open University course M206 Computing an Object - oriented approach, and wish to find a tutorial on the Smalltalk programming that is relevent to the M206 course one of the subjects on this course.
All the words in bold text in the above sentence are possible suitable words or phrases to search for. In Jan 2002 I searched for some of the above and the number of returned matches are shown in the table below.
Step 3 The secret of successful searches
is the careful selection and combination of your keywords. From
what I have said in the assumption
Pick out the 2 main keywords
Obviously Smalltalk is the main one, and because the assumption said, relevent to the M206 course, I would say M206 the other, tutorial being a strong contender.
Step 4 For the rest of this exercise you are going to use the following search engine that I have installed below
Ensure that the Search WWW option is selectet
Enter the following words into the input box.
This search engine will look through its database
for pages that have BOTH these words on the page.
Step 4 Check the results
You should look at the result page produced. Look for the number
of pages found near the top of the list, it was 457 when
I tried it.
Note how the search words you typed in are displayed in bold within the extracts from different sections of the page.
Read a few of the entries and see how near they are to our requirements.
Look at the top, or near the top of the list for my M206 site
with an entry similar to the following.
Clicking on the either of the 2 links in the Google entry, or in the above paragraph will take you to the Smalltalk and M206 site
Step 1 Add the word tutorial to the other 2 words and try again
Step 2 Take a note how the search results have now been cut down in number. By the careful selection of your search criteria you should be able to obtain the best possible sites for your purpose.
Many engines have an Advanced search page, where you can enter additional query details that should improve your chances of returning relevent sites.
Phrases should always be placed within a pair of quotation marks. E.G.
The engine will look for an exact database entry for the phrase, finding
turbocharged engine, but not finding turbocharged car engine
If you enter a search query
Many words have alternative meanings or can have abbreviations and you
may wish to accept either of the alternatives, then the boolean word to
use is OR, e.g.
Use the above examples in both Google and other engines.
As you use the different engines, notice which ones you prefer. You should do this each time you use an engine, with the aim of finding the one that suits you. The following may help you in making this decision.
Stemming is a process of finding additional words with different endings. E.G. If you typed in help as your search query stemming would find help, helping, helped, helper etc. Some engines use stemming automatically, but the same result can be achieved by the use of wildcards in the non stemming engines.
Wilcards can be used to include the:
The wildcard characters are * and ? and these normally stand for a single or group of characters, and a single character respectedly. Not all search engins work the same way and some engines reverse these uses. A quick look in the engines help section or a quick search experiment should verify the swituation.
Try the following and note what words are brought up for the keywords.
+T17? +HTM? +tut*
How to Submit your Web Page or Web Site to Search engines.
Web Site Submission and Web Site Promotion has been moved
to another page.
The Open University T171 web site has Search Engine information. These pages may have restricted access unless you are a T170 or T171 student
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