EDU 626 Integration of Educational Technology Spring 2012Lost in the net? Navigating Search Engines
Define “search engine”? What is a search engine?− Essentially, a search engine is a computer program. The biggest ones, such as Google, Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask, use giant clusters of computers to search the web. Others search only the owners site • http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-search-engines
A more scholarly definition search engine− Originally, a hardware device designed to search a text-based database for specific character strings (queries) typed as input by the user. More recently, computer software designed to help the user locate information available at sites on the World Wide Web by selecting categories from a hierarchical directory of subjects (example: Yahoo!) or by entering appropriate keywords or phrases (Google, Hotbot, etc.). Most Web search engines allow the searcher to use Boolean logic and truncation in search statements. • Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
Huh? What’s the core of that definition?− “designed to help the user locate information available at sites on the World Wide Web”− Two methods involved to locate that information: 1. from a hierarchical directory of subjects 2. by entering appropriate keywords or phrases
Example of a web directory?Historically, that is! But is Yahoo! a directory now?
Another example—that exists today!HotVsNot.com is a premium web directory focusedon providing high- quality, well-categorized listingsof business-related websites.http://www.hotvsnot. com/About/ http://www.hotvsnot.com/
Entering appropriate keywords or phrases What is a keyword?− A “keyword” or “keyword Phrase” is the word or words a person types into the search box on a search engine to look up subject matter on the Internet. If you are looking for a flag for your home or office, you might type in “American Flags”. • SEO Questions & Answers (FAQ)
How does a search engine work? 3 basic tasks of search engines:1. They search the Internet -- or select pieces of the Internet -- based on important words.2. They keep an index of the words they find, and where they find them.3. They allow users to look for words or combinations of words found in that index. • How Internet Search Engines Work by Curt Franklin
What does this mean?1. You are not searching the Web directly, and not even a snapshot of the Web, either2. You are not even searching all of the Web, only the websites that have been crawled by the search engine’s bots3. The indexes do not distinguish the keywords by their meaning—they’re simply a collection of words with the links to where they occur [not for nothing is one of the metasearch engines called Dogpile!]
What about the order of appearance? How Search Engines Rank Web Pages1. Frequency of Keywords • Search Engines look for the frequency of keyword repeats in the content of the web page and the web pages with the best keyword frequency stand a chance to get to the top of search engine results. Low keyword frequency may result in loss of ranking and deliberate use of excessive keywords will end up being penalized by search engines. SEO [Search Engine Optimization] experts recommend keyword density of 3 to 5% of the whole content of the web page. • January 4, 2012 By admin
Other ranking methods How Search Engines Rank Web Pages2. Location of Keywords • Search Engines assume that the most relevant keywords of the content should be present in the headline, top of the webpage & bottom of the webpage. • Using your primary keywords in the Title & in the beginning and end of the content optimizes your web page for the Search Engines.
Other ranking methods How Search Engines Rank Web Pages3. Link Popularity • Search Engines analyze links found on web pages and how pages link to each other to determine the popularity & importance of a web page.4. Click-Through Rate • Search Engines may pull down high ranking web pages if they find that the web pages are not attracting enough clicks and the web pages ranking down the order is attracting more visitor clicks. If your website is attracting more clicks than the websites ranking first in the search engines, your website will get ranking boost.
Can you improve your site’s ranking? What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?− SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads.
What does all this mean? Your mileage will vary!− When you compare your search across different search engines
Results vary for the same search engine, too! Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results− By watching what you click on in search results, Google can learn that you favor particular sites. For example, if you often search and click on links from Amazon that appear in Google’s results, over time, Google learns that you really like Amazon. In reaction, it gives Amazon a ranking boost. That means you start seeing more Amazon listings, perhaps for searches where Amazon wasn’t showing up before.− In particular, we now have two “flavors” of personalized search, or “Web History” as is the official Google name for it. There’s Signed-Out Web History and Signed-In Web History. • Dec 4, 2009 at 6:18pm ET by Danny Sullivan
Focusing your search queries Field Search− Field searching is an optional way to focus your search results. With general search engines, youre searching the full text of many millions of pages, and field searching can help you retrieve results that may be more manageable. For example, you can search for words that appear within a particular Web site, within the URL (Web address), in the page title, and so on. The exact technique for doing this can differ among search engines, so be sure to check out the Help pages before proceeding. • Basic Search Techniques
Field search commands Title field− Google allintitle:− Bing intitle:− Searches for keywords only in the title of a website− e. g. allintitle:hurricane caribbean deaths− intitle:hurricane caribbean deaths Limit to specific website− Both Google and Bing use site:− e. g. site:nasa.gov