How to find information on the Internet

Most information is found on the Internet by utilizing search engines. A search engine is a web service that uses web robots to query millions of pages on the Internet and creates an index of thoseweb pages. Internet users can then use these services to find the information they’re looking for. When searching for information on the Internet keep the below things in mind.

Surround searches in quotes

If you are searching for multiple common words such as computer and help, it is a good idea to place quotes around the full search to get better results. For example, “computer help”. This trick can also be used in parts of your search query. For example, Microsoft “computer help”would search for anything containing ‘Microsoft’ and that also has “computer help” together. Finally, you can also do multiple words surrounded in quotes. For example, “Microsoft Windows” and “computer help” would refine your results even more.

Be aware of stop words

Many search engines will strip out common words they refer to as stop words for each search that is performed. For example, instead of searching for why does my computer not boot, the search engine would search for computer and boot. To help prevent these from being stripped surround the search with quotes.

Tip: If stop words are not important, don’t enter them into your search.

Familiarize yourself with Booleans

Many search engines allow Booleans, which can prevent results you many not want from being displayed. Although common Booleans include “and”, “or”, and “not” most search engines have replaced these keywords with symbols. For example, if you were wanting to find computer help but didn’t want to return any results for Linux computer help you’d type computer help -linuxthe -linux indicates to exclude any results containing the word Linux.

Know what features are available

Many search engines allow for additional syntax to help limit your search strings. For example, Google enables users to search for links to a particular page by typing “link:” and many other keywords at the beginning of the search query. For example, to see who is linked to Computer Hope you’d type

  • See the Google tips section for further tips and features you may not be aware of.

Try alternative search engines

Finally, if you continue to not find what you are looking for, try a different search engine. A listing of search engines can be found on our network search engine section.


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