Lost in the net: Navigating search engines


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Lost in the net: Navigating search engines

  1. 1. Lost in the net?Navigating Search EnginesEDU 626 Integration of Educational TechnologySummer 2013
  2. 2. Define “search engine”? What is a search engine?− Essentially, a search engine is a computerprogram. The biggest ones, such asGoogle, Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask, usegiant clusters of computers to search the web.Others search only the owner’s site• http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-search-engines2
  3. 3. A more scholarly definition search engine− Originally, a hardware device designed tosearch a text-based database for specificcharacter strings (queries) typed as input by the user.More recently, computer software designed to help theuser locate information available at sites on the WorldWide Web by selecting categories from a hierarchicaldirectory of subjects (example: Yahoo!) or by enteringappropriate keywords or phrases (Google, Hotbot, etc.).Most Web search engines allow the searcher to useBoolean logic and truncation in search statements.• Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science3
  4. 4. Huh? What’s the core of that definition?− “designed to help the user locate informationavailable at sites on the World Wide Web”− Two methods involved to locate thatinformation:1. from a hierarchical directory of subjects2. by entering appropriate keywords or phrases4
  5. 5. A hierarchical directory ofsubjects?5
  6. 6. Example of a web directory?This is the way itused to behistorically, thatis! But is Yahoo!a directory now?6
  7. 7. Another example—that exists today!http://www.hotvsnot.com/HotVsNot.com is apremium webdirectory focusedon providing high-quality, well-categorized listingsof business-relatedwebsites.http://www.hotvsnot.com/About/7
  8. 8. Entering appropriate keywords or phrases What is a keyword?− A “keyword” or “keyword Phrase” is the wordor words a person types into the search box on asearch engine to look up subject matter on theInternet. If you are looking for a flag for yourhome or office, you might type in “AmericanFlags”.• SEO Questions & Answers (FAQ)8
  9. 9. How does a search engine work? 3 basic tasks of search engines:1. They search the Internet -- or select pieces of theInternet -- based on important words.2. They keep an index of the words they find, andwhere they find them.3. They allow users to look for words orcombinations of words found in that index.• How Internet Search Engines Workby Curt Franklin9
  10. 10. How a search engine builds its index10
  11. 11. What does this mean?1. You are not searching the Web directly, and not evena snapshot of the Web, either2. You are not even searching all of the Web, only thewebsites that have been crawled by the search engine’sbots3. The indexes do not distinguish the keywords by theirmeaning—they’re simply a collection of words withthe links to where they occur [it’s not for nothing thatone of the metasearch engines is called Dogpile!]11
  12. 12. What about the order of appearance? How search engines rank web pages?Search engines can only rank a web site by the textinformation they read on a web pageSearch engines rank a web page by “a formula” [or“algorithm”]Search engines rank sites by user prioritySearch engines rank page titlesPage names affect ranking resultsSearch engines value the RIGHT Domain NameSearch engines rank web pages by the words theycontainHow does Google rank websites?12
  13. 13. Can you improve your site’s ranking? What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?− SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It isthe process of getting traffic from the “free,”“organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on searchengines. All major search engines such asGoogle, Yahoo and Bing have such results, whereweb pages and other content such as videos or locallistings are shown and ranked based on what thesearch engine considers most relevant to users.Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads.13
  14. 14. What does all this mean? Your mileage will vary!− When you compare your search across differentsearch engines14
  15. 15. Results vary for the same searchengine, too! Google Now PersonalizesEveryone’s Search Results− By watching what you click on in search results, Googlecan learn that you favor particular sites. For example, ifyou often search and click on links from Amazon thatappear in Google’s results, over time, Google learns thatyou really like Amazon. In reaction, it gives Amazon aranking boost. That means you start seeing more Amazonlistings, perhaps for searches where Amazon wasn’tshowing up before.− In particular, we now have two “flavors” of personalizedsearch, or “Web History” as is the official Google namefor it. There’s Signed-Out Web History and Signed-InWeb History.• Dec 4, 2009 at 6:18pm ET by Danny Sullivan15
  16. 16. Google’s justification Basics: Search history personalization− By personalizing your results based on your search history, we hopeto deliver you the most useful, relevant content for your search.Search history personalization is just one of the ways that we showyou more personalized search results. Learn more about personalresults− When youre signed in, Google personalizes your search experiencebased on your Google Web History.• You can turn off Google Web History• You can also view and remove individual items• You can also turn off personal results− When youre not signed in, Google personalizes your searchexperience based on past search information linked to yourbrowser, using a cookie. . . . If you dont want to see resultspersonalized based on your search history while you are signedout, you can turn off search history personalization.16
  17. 17. Limiting your search results Phrase search17
  18. 18. Focusing your search queries Field Search− Field searching is an optional way to focus yoursearch results. With general search engines,youre searching the full text of many millions ofpages, and field searching can help you retrieveresults that may be more manageable. Forexample, you can search for words that appearwithin a particular Web site, within the URL(Web address), in the page title, and so on. Theexact technique for doing this can differ amongsearch engines, so be sure to check out the Helppages before proceeding.• Basic Search Techniques18
  19. 19. Field search commands Title field− Google allintitle:− Bing intitle:− Searches for keywords only in the title of awebsite− e. g. allintitle:hurricane caribbean deaths− intitle:hurricane caribbean deaths Limit to specific website− Both Google and Bing use site:− e. g. site:nasa.gov19
  20. 20. The End