Appendix 9 Basic Search Strategies

Appendix description or content:

Appendix 9: Basic Search Strategies


For the purpose of this appendix square brackets have been used to reference a query [ ]. For example [apple and orange] is one query, whereas [apple] and [orange] are two queries.


Some Basic Facts

1. Generally all the words you type into a query will be used by the search engine.

2. Some exceptions to this rule are commonly used terms like ‘the’, ‘a’, ‘for’ etc.

3. Some words in your query may be replaced by synonyms.

4. A particular word may not appear in your results page if there is other sufficient information to find the relevant results. For example [a front view of the white house] may give you some pictures of the front view of the white house which do not include the words ‘front view’.

5. For the most part punctuation marks are ignored.


Here are a few exceptions to this rule :

Punctuation in popular terms that have that have particular meanings like [C++] or [C#] which both names

of programming languages, are not ignored.


The dollar sign ($) is used to indicate prices. So [Samsung 400] and [Samsung $400] will give you different results. ! The hyphen is used to indicate that the two words around it are strongly connected and hence is not ignored.

For example [part-time]

If there is a space before the hyphen and no space after it, then it may be considered a negative sign.

The underscore symbol is not ignored when it connects two different words. For example

[english_forum]. Underscores are for the most part used in computer technology to name objects. Guidelines for better search


Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular company, just enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall. If you're looking for a particular concept, place, or product, start with its name. If you're looking for a pizza restaurant, just enter pizza and the name of your town or your zip code. Most queries do not require advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.


Think how the page you are looking for will be written. A search engine is not a human, it is a program that matches the words you give to pages on the web.


Use the words that are most likely to appear on the page. For example, instead of saying [ my head hurts ], say [ headache ],because that's the term a medical page will use. The query [ in what country are bats considered an omen of good luck? ] is very clear to a person, but the document that gives the answer may not have those words. Instead, use the query [ bats are considered good luck in ] or even just [ bats good luck ], because that is probably what the right page will say.


Describe what you need with as few terms as possible. The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search. For example, [ weather cancun ] is a simple way to find the weather and it is likely to give better results than the longer [ weather report for cancun mexico ].

! ! ! ! ! ! ! PAGE35OF43IN SEARCH OF THINGS! ! ! GRADE LEVEL: 9 - 12

Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info,' are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use, it may not match the pages you need. For example, [ celebrity ringtones ] is more descriptive and specific than [ celebrity sounds ].



1. What is it I’m looking for? (Think about common keywords)


2. How would someone else talk about it? (What words would they use? How would THEY describe it?)


3. Which of those terms would be most common?


4. Which of those terms would be very specialized to this topic?


5. What kind of thing would make me happy? (Do I want a single web page, a definition, a collection, an image...or?)


Reference: Google For Educators Website