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Search tips – get your search right first time

Get your search right first time!

You tell a search service what you’re looking for by typing in keywords, phrases, or questions in the search box. The search service responds by giving you a list of all the Web pages in their index relating to those topics. The most relevant content appears at the top of the results.

Here’s an example:
Type recipe oatmeal raisin cookies in the search box.
2. Press the Search button or press the Enter key.
3. The Results page will show you numerous pages on the Web about recipes for oatmeal raisin cookies.

Tip: Don’t worry if you find a large number of results. In fact, use more than a couple of words when searching. Even though the number of results will be large, the most relevant content will always appear at the top of the result pages.

Use a phrase
You can link words and numbers together into phrases if you want specific words or numbers to appear together in your result pages. If you want to find an exact phrase, use double quotation marks around the phrase.

Example #1: To find lyrics by Elvis, type you ain’t nothing but a hound dog” in the search box.

Simple Tips for More Exact Searches

When in doubt, use lowercase text in your searches
When you use lowercase text, the search service finds both upper and lowercase results. When you use upper case text, the search service finds only upper case.

Example: When you search for paris, you’ll find Paris, paris, and PARIS in your result pages. However, when you search for Paris, you’ll only see Paris in the result pages.

Including or excluding words
To make sure that a specific word is always included in your search topic, place the plus (+) symbol before the key word in the search box. To make sure that a specific word is always excluded from your search topic, place a minus ()sign before the keyword in the search box.

Example: To find recipes for cookies with oatmeal but without raisins, try recipe cookie+oatmeal-raisin.

Expand your search using wildcards (*)
By typing an * at the end of a keyword, you can search for the word with multiple endings.

Example: Try wish*, to find wish, wishes, wishful, wishbone, and wishy-washy.

Viewing your search results in your native language:
Using the Language pull-down menu in the search box, you can find all the documents on the Web about a given topic, originally written in a specific language. This type of search excludes other Web sites written in other languages so that you can make your search even more exact.

Example: If you select the Italian pull-down option when searching for Roma, you will see result pages including the word Roma written on Italian Web pages.


AltaVista, for instance, searches more than just text. Here are all of the other ways you can search on the Net:

Finds pages that contain the specified word or phrase in the text of a hyperlink. anchor:”Click here to visit AltaVista” would find pages with “Click here to visit AltaVista” as a link.

Finds pages that contain a specified Java applet.

Finds pages within the specified domain. Use domain:de to find pages from Germany, or use domain:org to find pages from organizations.

Finds pages on a specific computer. The search host:altavista.digital.com would find pages on the AltaVista computer, and host:dilbert.unitedmedia.com would find pages on the computer called dilbert at unitedmedia.com.

Finds pages with images having a specific filename. Use image:elvis to find pages with images called elvis.

Finds pages with a link to a page with the specified URL text. Use link:altavista.digital.com to find all pages linking to AltaVista.

Finds pages that contain the specified text in any part of the page other than an image tag, link, or URL. The search text:cow9 would find all pages with the term cow9 in them.

Finds pages that contain the specified word or phrase in the page title (which appears in the title bar of most browsers). The search title:Elvis would find pages with Elvis in the title.

Finds pages with a specific word or phrase in the URL. Use url:altavista to find all pages on all servers that have the word altavista in the host name, path, or filename–the complete URL, in other words.