Using a Search Engine A search engine allows you to find pages on the Internet You need to think very carefully about the keywords you choose, to find the information that you want. You can do a The URL of general web Google. search or choose a particular type of information. Click here for Type your key Advanced word(s) carefully Search here. Choose the whole web or just UK sites Choosing keywords For best results, it’s important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind: 1. Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you want. Luxury hotel Lilongwe gets better results than really nice places to spend the night in Lilongwe. 2. Make keywords as specific as possible. Safari Malawi will be better than Holiday Malawi Using synonyms Synonyms are…words with similar meanings. Look at the following words in bold and think of some suitable synonyms that could be used instead as key word searches. • holiday – vacation, trip, tourism • places to stay – accommodation, hotel • travel – journey, transport, tour, safari Narrowing your search The word Malawi brings up 3,790,000 results. To narrow down your search you should include more key words. Number of search results Automatic ‘AND’ queries If you put 2 words into a search engine it looks for web pages which contain both of the words, not either of the words. This reduces the number of search results found. Indicate number of sites found for each new search Automatic exclusion of common words Google ignores common words and characters such as where and how, and single letters, because they slow down a search. If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a ‘+’ sign in front of it. Example: Star Wars Episode +1 Capitalization Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for lake malawi or Lake Malawi, will return the same results. Specific phrase search Another way to narrow down your search is to put quotation marks around two or more words. For holidays in and around Lake Malawi, type malawi holiday “lake malawi” No quotation marks gives 61,300 results. “lake malawi” gives 12,500 results.
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