Lost in the Net? Navigating Search Engines


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Discusses the nature of search engines and some tips on how to use them.

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Lost in the Net? Navigating Search Engines

  1. 1. Lost in the net? Navigating Search Engines EDU 626 Integration of Educational Technology Summer 2014
  2. 2. 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 owner’s site • http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-search-engines 2
  3. 3. 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 3
  4. 4. 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 4
  5. 5. A hierarchical directory of subjects? 5
  6. 6. Example of a web directory? This is the way it used to be historically, that is! But is Yahoo! a directory now? 6
  7. 7. Another example—that exists today! http://www.hotvsnot.com/ HotVsNot.com is a premium web directory focused on providing high- quality, well- categorized listings of business-related websites. http://www.hotvsnot. com/About/ 7
  8. 8. 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) 8
  9. 9. 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 9
  10. 10. How a search engine builds its index 10 http://youtu.be/kYc8Vf_BdjQ
  11. 11. What does this mean? 1. You are not searching the Web directly, and not even a snapshot of the Web, either 2. You are not even searching all of the Web, only the websites that have been crawled by the search engine’s bots 3. The indexes do not distinguish the keywords by their meaning—they’re simply a collection of words with the links to where they occur [it’s not for nothing that one of the metasearch engines is called Dogpile!] 11
  12. 12. What about the order of appearance? 12 http://www.time2goweb.com/searchengines_2.htm
  13. 13. Clickthrough measurement?  “Clickthrough measurement” − is another way that the page ranks are determined. With this method a website is ranked depending on how many people have clicked on the link. A website that may originally have been low on the list due to low keyword frequency can move up in the rankings if enough users click on the link. This allows websites that have useful information to be ranked higher, even though their keywords and links may not be relevant. • Search Engines 13
  14. 14. 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. 14
  15. 15. What does all this mean?  Your mileage will vary! − When you compare your search across different search engines 15 http://med-libwww.bu.edu/library/tutorial/section3realitycheck1.html
  16. 16. Results vary for the same search engine, too! 16 http://www.advancessg.com/search-personalization-good- or-bad/
  17. 17. Google’s justification  Some thoughts about personalization − Our philosophy on personalization • Our goal as always is to give you the answers you’re looking for as quickly as possible. The best answers might include some tweaks and tuning based on your interests, and they might include some perspectives from friends and colleagues, but undoubtedly the best answers from across the web will still be highly relevant. We hear from our users again and again that they value the opinions of experts and authorities, and that’s a big part of why they turn to Google. Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow 11/23/11 | 11:00:00 AM 17
  18. 18. Limiting your search results  Phrase search 18
  19. 19. Focusing your search queries  Field Search − Field searching is an optional way to focus your search results. With general search engines, you're 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 19
  20. 20. 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 20
  21. 21. The End