Search Engines are used to find things on the Internet. Search engines are run by companies that collect information from the Internet, sort and categorize it and present the information to the user based on keyword searches or through directory listings.

It is worth taking some time to learn how to make an effective keyword search as the amount of information that these search engines provide can be overwhelming. It is common to be provided with 10s of thousands of references to any given search term. By narrowing your search to a specific phrase you can target your searches more effectively. Many search engines require that you enclose a search phrase in quotes (e.g. "the cat in the hat").

Search enginesDifferent search engines will display different results and sort those results differently. If you don't find the information you want on one search site try another. Some search companies offer meta searches which are compiled from a number of different search engines' results.

Some search sites offer directory listings as well. The information is categorized in a hierarchy from general categories to specific categories. To find a specific web site follow the links down to the category that matches your interest.

The results from a search are a list of pages with links to the documents that match your search. Each search engine has a different way of displaying the results but generally you will see a list with the name of the organization or title of the page. You may also see a short description of that web page. Clicking on the title will take you to that page.

Though there are hundreds of search engines on the Internet there are only a couple dozen that the majority of people use. If you choose "customize" in your browsers search tool you will see a list of some of these search engines.

Website Search

As well as Internet searches many websites offer a website search feature to help visitors find information on that specific website. Generally there will be a button marked 'Search' beside a text field. Enter your query to display links to the pages that match.


Last updated: March 4, 2021