Soliciting Search Engines

As your guide operator through the web, search engines are invaluable when used effectively.

You don't have to be able to create a search engine to use it, and their interface is designed with that in mind. Here are some quick considerations that should help any domestic trade.

1.If searching for a regional product, use a regional engine. If you live in Sweden and want information on an Swedish product, use for example.

This is of particular benefit if something regional is to be delivered to your door. Importing from another country would be impractical, as would a search on the global web.

2.If you don't know the name of a regional engine, then "ask" the global engine. Example: Type in google and sweden.

3. If you need some information on RUBBER SHOES, then type it into the search box but place inverted commas around it. Example: "rubber shoes". With inverted commas, results will be returned with rubber and shoes, in juxtaposition.

Without inverted commas, results can be from web pages that have the word, rubber, and the word, shoes, anywhere on the same page. Example: A fairy tale may recount a rubber dingy, and leather shoes in an unrelated sentence. That is fair game from a perspective of an engine, and a legitimate match.

It may be of no use to the searcher, though.

4.Everything on the Internet is not necessarily true. Indeed, if you are doing some research, then it may take many pages of matches to compile the information that you need. You must filter the options as you see fit. Using various search engines will most likely return different matches in different orders, for the very same search term.

The search engines are programmed to return matches based on their rather unique search criteria.

So some flexibility is needed.

5. Generally, search terms don't have to be case-sensitive.

6. Give the search engines as many clues as possible. Example;

"rubber shoes" chicago should Chicago be the place that you wish to locate a pair of rubber shoes, or information on such a flexible footwear product.

7.The number one match is likely to be the result of many factors, other than the best product for that search term. This is mainly reliant on Search Engine Optimisation, where competition exists. This simply means that something odd or rarely documented, may have no competition, and will come back as number one.

8.Search engines can include and use the results of other search engines.

9.More will exclude, and totally, the results of the competition, as they see appropriate or commercially sensible. Commercial stubbornness is not unknown either.

10. Some search engines use what is referred to as "Boolean operators". Named after George Boole and his assertion that something can be right or wrong, true or false, and more importantly, on or off, a "new" view of logic was spawned.

It is entirely co-incidental that his father made shoes!

While this can get a little involved, it may be no harm to experiment if your engine of choice supports it. Try; rubber and shoes, rubber or shoes, rubber and not shoes, rubber or not shoes and so on.

Now, one wouldn't expect those particular search terms and operators to return anything worthwhile, but "computer and not science" should separate the two terms, if supported. Or "someone famous and not someone famous's wife", should such English be accepted. I trust that you know what I mean.

Some search engines will return all matches by default or irrespective of operators.

"You have the map; just manipulate the method".

Seamus Dolly is the webmaster at

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